Miami Dolphins: 10 Reasons Chad Henne Could Become the Next Drew Brees
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So let's get some things out of the way first:
- You must have lost your mind.
- You're crazy!
- This is terrible!
- A comparison like this can't happen.
...or can it?
However, this slideshow will show 10 reasons why Chad Henne could be on a similar career path.
Went to College at a Big Ten School
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Drew Brees had an illustrious college career at Purdue University. He would set numerous passing records and become a two-time Heisman finalist.
Chad Henne would become the first true freshman to start at the University of Michigan. After his senior year, he threw the second-most passing touchdowns by a QB in Big Ten history with 87...only one behind Drew Brees.
Lost in the Rose Bowl
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Before Henne became known as the Michigan QB who lost to Appalachian State at home, he led Michigan to the 2005 Rose Bowl as a true freshman.
In an instant classic against Texas, he would throw 4 touchdown passes, a Rose Bowl record, and 227 passing yards in a 38-37 loss.
Brees led Purdue to the 2001 Rose Bowl against Washington during his senior year. He passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns but would lose to Washington 34-24.
Drafted in the 2nd Round
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Followed a Large List of QBs Under the "Post-Legend Curse"
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Dan Fouts was a Hall of Fame QB for the San Diego Chargers from 1973-1987. Unfortunately, until Brees, there hadn't been a Pro Bowl QB since Fouts's retirement.
In fact, here is the list of starting QBs until Brees:
- Mark Malone
- Babe Laufenberg
- Jim McMahon
- Billy Joe Tolliver
- John Friesz
- Stan Humphries
- Craig Whelihan
- Ryan Leaf
- Jim Harbaugh
- Erik Kramer
- Doug Flutie
In addition, the Dolphins have had a similar curse since Marino's retirement in 1999.
In fact, here is an article that I wrote that outlines every Dolphins QB since Marino's retirement.
**Note: Former Chargers QB Stan Humphries and former Dolphins QB Jay Fiedler have, respectively, been the most consistent QBs for those teams since the legends retired. In fact, Humphries did lead San Diego to the Super Bowl against San Francisco. However, both of them were mostly game manager-like QBs.
Sat out Their First Season Behind a Longtime Veteran
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In 2001, Drew Brees sat out behind longtime veteran Doug Flutie for the season.
Flutie would lead the team to a 5-11 record, posting 3,464 passing yards, 15 TDs and 18 INTs.
In 2008, Chad Henne sat behind Chad Pennington for the season.
Pennington would lead the team to an improbable 11-5 record, winning the AFC East title and the AFC Comeback Player of the Year Award.
He threw for 3,653 passing yards, 19 TDs and 7 INTs for the season.
Had an Encouraging First Season as a Starter
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Drew Brees looked very encouraging during his first full season. He led the Chargers to an 8-8 season during the 2002 NFL season, posting 3284 passing yards, 17 TDs and 16 INTs with a 60.5 completion percentage.
Chad Henne had his struggles but looked solid during his first full season as a starter. It started after Pennington went down with a shoulder injury in Week 3 of the 2009 NFL season.
After that, he led the Dolphins to a 7-6 record, posting 2878 passing yards, 12 TDs and 14 INTs with a 60.8 completion percentage.
Had a Disastrous Second Season as a Starter
Michael Dunbar at the Dolphins-Lions game during the 2010 NFL season
Henne's 2010 season was loaded with the mistakes of a unprepared NFL QB: poor time management, forced throws and lack of confidence in numerous situations.
In fact, as shown in the photo, I got to experience it firsthand when the Dolphins played the Lions at home and gave up a two-touchdown lead in the 4th quarter, mainly due to Henne's mistakes.
As a result, he would eventually be replaced by Pennington for a game before Pennington again suffered a shoulder injury—sidelining him for the season.
Henne would lead the Dolphins to a 6-8 record, posting 3301 passing yards, 15 TDs and 19 INTs with a 61.4 completion percentage.
Similarly, nothing went right for Brees in his second season as a starter during the 2003 NFL campaign.
In fact, his mistakes and failure to make the proper reads led to his benching after 11 games in favor of Doug Flutie.
Before that, Brees led the Chargers to a 2-9 record, posting 2108 passing yards, 11 TDs and 15 INTs with a 57.6 completion percentage.
Management Looked for QB to Replace Them Before Their Third Season
During the 2011 NFL offseason, the Dolphins searched extensively for a replacement QB for Henne. In fact, they had a chance to trade for Kyle Orton from the Denver Broncos for a third-round pick.
However, Miami passed over both the draft compensation and the contract demands for Orton, which exceeded $9 million per year.
Instead, Miami has, so far, opted to sign undrafted free agent QB Pat Devlin and free agent QB Matt Moore.
During the 2004 NFL offseason, the Chargers had the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and elected to pick Eli Manning. However, Archie and Eli Manning demanded that Eli would not play for the Chargers and wanted a trade.
**Photo Courtesy of NFLgridirongab.com
They Grew as Leaders During the Offseason of Their Third Season
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While the NFL had a lockout during the 2011 NFL offseason, Henne organized team meetings and practices throughout the offseason and, according to reports, grew as a leader.
In addition, he has started to do audibles during practice and is staying calm and confident in the midst of the discontent of fans.
Likewise, while Philip Rivers held out through most of preseason, Drew Brees grew as a leader for the Chargers after his third season. In fact, this excerpt from ESPNMag truly describes the growth of Brees as a leader during that offseason:
'So Rivers picked a bad time to stage a rookie holdout. Brees was coming off an ugly 67.5 passer rating in 2003, but he waltzed in on the first day of the 2004 training camp and called a players-only meeting. He handed everyone a typed piece of paper stating his team and personal goals and asked each player to write in his. He told them, 'Line up behind me, because I'm gonna lead you.'''
That's how the Chargers became his team. They went 12-4 and won the AFC West, and his 27:7 TD-to-interception ratio got him voted into the Pro Bowl. He'd connected with every player, especially the other quarterbacks. He nicknamed Doug Flutie Salty Dog because Flutie was always grousing about something. He even brought in a football he'd bought at the famous Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head, S.C., so that Flutie or anyone else could sign and date it if he was in a 'salty' mood. 'Philip signed it eight times, I signed it seven times, Doug all the time,' Brees says." -- ESPNMag
**Note: The article's link is below:
Had Rocky Start to 3rd Season as Starter but Shone in the End?
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Drew Brees would end up having a great preseason and set the stage for a great season.
Unfortunately, his first three games did not go as planned. In fact, they were terrible.
The stat line for the first three games:
- 77.1 QB rating
- 54.17 completion percentage
- 476 passing yards
- 3 touchdowns
- 2 interceptions
- 1-2 record
This included a game where he went 8 of 19 for 146 passing yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs in a loss to the NY Jets.
However, he remained the starter and his stats at the end of the 2004 season were:
- 65.5 completion percentage
- 104.8 QB rating
- 3159 passing yards
- 27 TDs
- 7 INTs
...Thus far, Henne has struggled in the preseason but now the question is will he do the same as Brees did in his third season? Stay tuned.