A Henne-Dolphins Divorce Is Long Overdue: Time To Give Tyler Thigpen a Fair Shot

Danny DolphinAnalyst IDecember 14, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Tyler Thigpen #16 of the Miami Dolphins  during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne has received opportunity after opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be a mainstay at quarterback for the long haul. He hasn’t capitalized, and it’s time to let him go.

I was one of the biggest Henne supporters coming into the season. Here’s a kid who was a four-year starter at Michigan, a program that was elite at the time.

He had a full season to sit back and learn from one of the game’s all-time accurate and brainy quarterbacks in Chad Pennington during his rookie season in 2008.

Last year, he showed glimpses of becoming one of the league’s better quarterbacks, but not without his fair share of mistakes. They acquired Brandon Marshall, a top-five receiver, from Denver for two second-round picks.

They changed the offensive line to better themselves in pass protection, even if it was at the cost of the running game.

In other words, this team put him in a winning situation with winning personnel around him.

This was the year he was supposed to make his mark. It was the year he was going to end the Dolphins' quarterback carousel.

After 26 games, it’s clear he doesn’t have it. He’s similar to the Canes’ Jacory Harris in that he wows us on opposite ends of the spectrum. Every great pass is followed by a “what in the hell were you thinking?” throw.

Tony Sparano and the rest of the Dolphins coaching staff can play the “He’s still young and learning” routine forever. I’m not buying it, and neither should you.

Of the league’s upper-echelon quarterbacks (think top 12), only two guys took more than one season to become the stars they are today. Drew Brees and Eli Manning. Both are Super Bowl winners.

I’m not including Mike Vick because he is off the charts, a freak circumstance who turned into an elite passer after seven seasons and a stint in jail. There is no precedent for a guy like Vick.

Chad Henne's 2010 game log

It’s safe to say Henne will never be a Brees. He doesn’t have the quick release, the pinpoint accuracy, and that’s not something someone develops out of nowhere.

Manning turned the corner after the amazing Super Bowl upset (his fourth season) against the Patriots. Something clicked after that. But he also is a former top overall pick and always had all the tools, mental and physical.

I will take the odds and wager anything that Henne will never be on Eli’s level.

What everyone should realize is every quarterback in the NFL has an arm. We’re talking about the best 90 or so passers in the world. They all have the ability to throw a football with precision and velocity.

What separates the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys from everyone else is found within consistency. Can they perform at a high level for 14 or 15 games a season? I’d also go as far as saying quarterback play at the NFL level is 95 percent mental.

On most plays a quarterback has three seconds, at most, to receive the snap, analyze coverage, run through progressions, feel pocket pressure, and get the ball out quickly with velocity and touch through a three-foot window. It’s not quite as simple as pitch and catch.

There is no position in team sports with a smaller margin for error.

I don’t care how good Henne has looked in spurts. I don’t care how strong his arm is. Any NFL quarterback can look great for three or four games. It’s the great ones who do it consistently over a long period of time.

It’s time to give Tyler Thigpen his fair chance. His only start this season came with three days of preparation, a makeshift offensive line in which guard Richie Incognito played center, and Brandon Marshall missing the second half. Yet everyone declared after the game Thigpen deserved to be in a reserve role.


Give Thigpen, who has an entirely different skill set than Henne, a just chance to prove himself. After Henne’s 5-for-18 disaster yesterday against the Jets, what is there to lose? A quarterback can’t play much worse, unless it’s Mark Sanchez.

Even if he is disastrous, at least we will know there are two quarterbacks on this roster who belong elsewhere next year.

Let the Dolphins Quarterback Roulette wheel turn again.


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