Chad Henne has a lot of critics. At times, I have been among the worst of them.
But he's not a horrible quarterback. He's not the worst QB Miami's ever had, and he's not the weakest link on this Dolphins team.
In 2009, not much was expected from him. Henne took over for an injured Chad Pennington early in the season and played mediocre football, which wasn't a big disappointment considering it was his first time starting and he showed promise.
Miami fans expected the world from Henne last season with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall.
Having an elite receiver doesn't guarantee that a quarterback is fully equipped to succeed. He needs a good running game to keep defenses honest, a good offensive line to protect him and good play-calling. Miami lacked all three last season.
Coordinator Dan Henning is gone. While Brian Daboll didn't have much success in Cleveland, he didn't have much talent either, and honestly, could he really do worse than Henning?
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are gone, and while I'd always been happy with their production, the Dolphins made a great decision to let them go and bring in Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush.
How will Chad Henne perform in 2011?
Ronnie and Ricky are very similar in durability, talent, style and tendencies, while Thomas and Bush are perfect complements for each other. They're younger and have greater potential as a one-two punch.
The offensive line isn't perfect. But if this group can stay healthy, they will do a much better job in protection than last season.
Now to address a different issue: "WE WANT ORTON!"
Do we really?
We want a QB whose career record as a starter is 32-30? Isn't the tendency to hover around .500 why "we" are calling for Henne to be benched? Well, that and the interceptions?
Don't get me wrong, Orton's a better player than Henne at this point in each player's careers. But would he be worth the price tag?
Henne's 2011 salary: $555,000. Orton's: nearly $9 million.
Orton would've been an improvement. Not a savior.
Ever since Dan Marino's retirement, when a Miami starting QB struggles Dolfans immediately begin calling for a trade or benching. Last season, fans were pulling for Chad Pennington and then Tyler Thigpen to replace Henne. And as soon as he throws his first interception of 2011, fans will call for Matt Moore or even Pat Devlin. Give him time. He won't be perfect, but he will be improved.
On a separate note, to address the rumors of Miami possibly getting a shot at drafting Andrew Luck: I don't care if Henne plays worse than ever, this team is way too good to lose enough games to be in the Luck sweepstakes. Let's just squash those speculations right there.
And thank goodness those ridiculous Brett Favre rumors are over.
Henne deserves one more chance. He has a completely new offense this season and new weapons to utilize. "Check-down Chad" will have better chemistry with Brandon Marshall, he'll be better protected from pass rushers and will improve in 2011.
Additionally, Miami's defense will be even better than last season. The NFL's sixth-ranked defense last season added LBs Kevin Burnett and Jason Taylor and gets DE Jared Odrick back from injury. The whole unit is very young and has gained some much needed experience. This D has the potential to be among the top three in the league, further helping Chad Henne's chances to succeed.
My money's on Henne. He has the tools to lead this team to the playoffs. I believe he will lead this team to his first winning season as a starter.