Beleaguered quarterback Chad Henne needs to do some real soul-searching. He needs to find out if he really has it in himself to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. This is the big time and he needs to buckle down, grab the opportunity he has been handed and take responsibility for it. Or else he will find himself out of a job this season, not next.
Henne’s offseason has been marred with initial trade talks between the Fins and the Broncos, trying to send Kyle Orton to Miami for a high-round draft pick. After the talks disintegrated, Dolfans chanted “We Want Orton” in a practice at Sun Life Stadium that was open to the public.
Henne’s response was to acknowledge his own difficulties at the quarterback position and the many pressures he faces. Man up! If he can’t handle the pressure he should step aside and let the other quarterbacks in waiting get a shot at it.
Henne didn’t help his case in the Dolphins first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Two of his first three possessions ended in interceptions by the Falcons. He redeemed himself with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline to put the Fins on the board.
Interceptions and inconsistent play have marked Henne’s short career in Miami thus far. With the fans calling for his head, he had better make some changes or he will be back on the bench in 2011.
Matt Moore is the next in line. Moore is not a proven quarterback in the NFL. He doesn’t have a strong arm and has little to show for his time thus far in the NFL. Last season with the Carolina Panthers, Moore was awarded the starting job with the departure of Jake Delhomme, but struggled mightily in the starting role.
What Moore does possess is his ability to move the chains and to look for receivers downfield. He isn’t always interested in passing the ball sideways or to short, safe options. He is more apt to roll the dice and let it fly with a pass down the field.
With a huge target in Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, he could huck the ball up and pray that Marshall can snag it out of the air. This is something that has hindered Marshall since coming to Miami, being under-utilized by Henne’s short, safe passes.
His most impressive season came after Jake Delhomme went down with an injury in 2009. That season Moore earned the starting job, when he posted a record of 4-1 in Delhomme’s absence.
In week one, Moore left the game with a concussion and the following week was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen, due to poor play. Moore returned three weeks later to replace Clausen and had the best game of his career against the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 28 of 41 pass attempts for 308 yards, two touchdowns and had one interception. The next week he suffered a shoulder injury against the New Orleans Saints and was placed on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season.
Moore’s situation in Carolina wasn’t the best one could hope for. The Panthers had a shaky offensive line and not too many tools to work with in the offense. Additionally, the Panthers offense wasn’t too fancy, with the former head coach’s preference of run-first and conservative offensive play-calling.
History aside, Moore has turned some heads in his first preseason game in Miami. In his Dolphins debut, Moore completed 11 of 18 passes for 123 yards, scored two touchdowns and threw a single interception. His most impressive play of the game was the 28-yard touchdown pass to Roberto Wallace with thirteen seconds left in the first half.
If Moore can consistently impress the coaching staff for the remainder of the preseason he could potentially steal away the starting role from Henne.
Pat Devlin was unimpressive in his debut performance for the Dolphins. He is in a battle with Kevin O’Connell for the third string quarterback slot and will not factor into the starting position at all.
The key to landing the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback spot will be consistency. Henne, the returning starter, has the leg up, with Moore hot on his heels. If he wants to remain the Dolphins starter he must prove to the coaching staff that he deserves it ahead of Moore.
Who starts in 2011? Chad Henne has it for now. A bad start to the season could find him riding the tar in the near future. However, keep a close eye on Matt Moore in the remaining three preseason games.