Imagine standing in a nondescript room at the Miami Dolphins facility. You sit with a crowd of others—maybe players in the locker room, media at the press conference stage or a herd of fans in the lobby.
Now, imagine Bob Griese walks in. Naturally, you flock towards him. He's a Dolphin legend, the captain of the only perfect team in NFL history, and he's seething with charisma.
The same happens with Dan Marino.
Everybody in the room centers their attention on the pair, even those apathetic to their successes. They carry this indescribable aura that glows around their demanding statures. It draws attention and demands respect. Both charm with charisma, and you can tell these two were leaders in their day.
Now, enter Chad Henne.
The much maligned Dolphins quarterback is the poster boy for the team's recent failures—the promise and aspirations that never materialize. He carries a stigma that contrasts sharply to the aura that encircles Marino and Griese.
But even if we rewind this scenario to one year ago, when Henne was being lauded as the messiah, would he draw more attention? Probably some, sure. However, the attention he would have drawn would still pale in comparison to that of, say, Josh Freeman—another young quarterback without a playoff appearance.
Freeman is one of the brightest budding stars of the NFL, but he has accomplished no more than Henne. Yet, compare these two video interviews. Watch Henne take the stage at a press conference, and Freeman sit down with Pam Oliver.
Watching Freeman, you can feel his quiet confidence. He doesn't trip over his words, he speaks clearly and even gives engaging, interesting responses. Henne, however, is horribly bland. He trips over his words and basically answers each question identically.
You can conjure images of Freeman taking control of his team and leading them to a playoff win, but can you do the same with Henne?
Freeman carries the same demeanor as other youngsters like Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan. They are clearly on a different level than Henne, but watch them speak. There is an undeniably distinct difference.
Some might argue that this character theory doesn't translate to the football field. But take a look at a today's elite crop of QB's: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. They all have character, and more importantly, they all show their fire on the field.
Do you believe Chad Henne deserves to be Miami's starter in 2011?
Still, some of you might argue that Henne doesn't have to scream at his teammates to fire them up. He can be a quiet confidence guy, a la Eli Manning. But even Eli is charismatic, and Eli Manning is comedic off the field, which hints he carries a leadership demeanor in the locker room. Not to mention, he also has a Super Bowl ring.
Maybe somewhere deep down, Henne has this passion and fire, but we certainly haven't seen it. From the fan's perspective, he seems content taking a passive role. And if Henne was a leader in Miami's locker room, would Tony Sparano have dared to bench him last season? More importantly, wouldn't he have garnered the captain's badge by now?
This lack of charisma, scarcity of character and dearth of fire is Chad Henne's greatest shortcoming. And it is why Miami absolutely must pursue somebody to compete with the fourth-year quarterback.
Henne has an uncanny parallel to Tony Sparano and his coaching tenure as a whole. Everything started out great, but has since decayed into a depressingly boring and bland mediocrity.
Henne deserves another chance to compete for a starting job and reignite the promise he displayed in 2009; however, if he doesn't start to bring some emotion onto the field, somebody will dethrone him very soon.