Miami Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning's Take on the Dolphins' Offense

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 12, 2010

MIAMI - 2009:  Dan Henning of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

One day after exchanging one Chad for the other, Dan Henning had the chance to speak to the Miami press.

One thing lost on me is apparently he does this every week! This is the first time it really caught my attention.

Now sadly, I'm just a lowly Bleacher Report Featured Columnist, not a member of the press, so I wasn't in attendance.

Luckily for me, the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero provided a transcript on his blog, which I will copy and paste at will, while adding my own observations as well as what Henning really meant by what he said.

Transcript appears in italics.

Q. How would Henning rate his offense at the midpoint of the 2010 season?

A. "We haven't been as efficient as we'd like.

"We have done some pretty good things, but we haven't been as efficient as we'd like. We have not as many touchdowns as we'd like.

We've gotten the ball seven times between our 48 and the goal line, and out of those seven times, we have a touchdown and six field goals. But we only have gotten it on the plus side of 50 twice, and that was the Pittsburgh game, and we weren't able to get touchdowns there.

"We've had a lot of long drives for touchdowns. We've had a lot of long drives for field goals.

"But we haven't executed the way we'd like when we did have the opportunity. If you look at the stats, our opportunities in the red area are way off from a lot of other teams' opportunities in the red area."

What Henning was trying to say: It's all Henne's fault.

Don't look at me; I only design and call the plays. I'm sorry that I don't know how to use Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown to their full potential.

"So, overall, we're not doing as well as we'd like. And if we were doing as well as we'd like, maybe we'd have a better record.

"So we're 4-4 and we have to be better than that, obviously, especially in the division we're in and the conference we're in, if we want to get to where we want to be at the end of the year."

If we were doing as well as we'd like, maybe we'd have a better record?

Really Dan, you think? Imagine if I tried that excuse with my parents in high school when I failed a test.

"Mom, I haven't been as efficient as I'd like. I've done some pretty good things, but I haven't been as efficient as I'd like.

"I haven't gotten as many A's as I'd like. I've done a lot of homework and studying, which has gotten me A's.

"I've done a lot of homework and studying, which has gotten me B's. But I haven't executed the way I'd like when I did get the opportunity.

"But if you look at my stats, my opportunities on tests are way off from a lot of other students. So overall, I'm not doing as well as I'd like.

"And if I was doing as well as I'd like, I'd have better grades. So I have a 2.5 and I'd like to be better than that, obviously, especially in the school I go to (I graduated from Christopher Columbus High School, class of '02) if I want to get to the college I want to get into."

I'd still be grounded after saying that. Why does this guy get off scott-free?

There's more.

Q. Does Chad Pennington have greater freedom to call audibles than Chad Henne and does the list of plays change based on the quarterback change?

A. "Same. Same. The list of plays are based on who we're playing.

"I don't think we'll have a different scope of things. You obviously know different people see things differently.

"They read things differently. When it comes down to the quarterback, you have judgment that takes place, so you might see him do something that you didn't see [Henne] do.

"You also might see him do something that Chad did do that might not be as good. That's what you live with whenever you make that type of change."

What Henning meant: It's the offensive scheme that makes the offense, not the players.

Sure, I have Ricky and Ronnie, and should be able to pound the ball on the ground. I have Brandon Marshall, who gets great Yards-After-Catch production, and he's springing Bess open, and Bess never seems to drop anything.

But it's my offense, and if the players don't produce, that's on them, not me.

Q. Does the fact you didn't throw deep much with Henne mean the offense is better suited for Chad Pennington?

A. "No, I don't think the reason we've not thrown as deep much with Henne is Henne as much as the defenses we're playing against.

"They're trying to stack up against Brandon, and the few times we have thrown deep, we've only been successful a couple of times. Like last week, we hit Brian Hartline on a pump down the sideline for about 35 yards.

"And we opened up the Vikings game, and we got over the top. As soon as we got over the top on the Vikings, they're going to shut that off."

What Henning meant: The defense knows we're going to throw deep since I don't believe in using the running game.

This, too, is Chad Henne's fault. Besides, why throw deep when you can throw it to Fasano for five yards and he can drop it?

Q. So does that aspect of the offense change? 

A. "There will be times when the shots will be there, and when they're there, we expect them to be hit."

What Henning meant: Are you kidding me? Take shots down the field?

Chad Pennington is my quarterback now. Throwing deep with him is a 10-yard curl route!

We've been doing that all season, but the offense hasn't executed them. It's all Henne's fault; he gets the ball to the receivers, but they can't catch it.

Q. How does the QB switch affect Henne's standing in the league and ability to come back?

A. "I think if you go back through history, I saw a graphic on this somewhere. When Elway came out in '83, he didn't win as many games as Henne has and he had a lot more interceptions than touchdowns.

"Steve Young came into the World Football League and flopped to Tampa. After Tampa, he got traded to San Francisco.

"He didn't really start starting until his ninth year. He was pretty good.

"This guy has come out of the box and he's done some very good things. He hasn't dropped any balls, missed any blocks or missed any tackles.

"And he has done some things he'd like to have back, so to speak. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's no reason this guy can't be a good quarterback in this league.

"He's got the tools. He's got the work ethic to the Nth degree and he is a very tough guy. He's a sensitive guydoesn't show that very much. But he is a tough guy and he'll come back from this."

At this point, this is where I wished I was at the press conference. After this statement, I'd take Henning to task.

First off, Elway was given the chance to succeed. He wasn't benched at any point with the Broncos.

Secondly, while Young was there, the Buccaneers' organization was a mess. The 49ers traded for him because Bill Walsh, a true offensive genius, saw potential in him.

Thirdly, the reason Young didn't start until his ninth season was because Joe Freaking Montana, a winner of three going on four Super Bowls at the time, was the starter. Had Montana not gotten hurt, maybe the 49ers would've been able to spin Young to another team and get something for him.

Good organizations always have a fail-safe plan like that.

Then there's the fact that he says that Henne is a sensitive guy, which in jockspeak is sometimes the equivalent of questioning one's manhood. Why would you say that when you're also saying that he's a tough guy who will come back from this?

Not to mention that Steve Young never played in the World Football League. He played in the United States Football League.

Big difference.

I wonder how he would've responded to those answers. Let me take a guess.

Well, I think if you go back through history, you'll see that history always repeats itself, except in times when it doesn't.

If it did, then it would. Sometimes completely new history is written, and sometimes you're just reading about it in a history book.

The key is to be an efficient offense you have to take what the defense gives you. Sure, throughout history the teams that win are the ones that take not just what the defense gives you but also a lot more, but if they want to give us field goals, we'll do just that.

A field goal not tried is a field goal missed, and you always want to put some points on the board. The key is to be in games late.

So what did we learn from Dan Henning?

Well, that he's too conservative for his own good. That he doesn't play to win, he plays not to lose.

And that he believes in Chad Henne, but doesn't.

In other words, we learned nothing.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. Follow Tom on Twitter, @thomasgalicia.


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