In preparation for free agency and the draft I have decided to write a series of posts in which I break the team down into smaller sections and then discuss what we have, what we need and what is available. I attempted to write just one post addressing these subjects but at the end I found what I had was a really long post which left too many questions unanswered, so hopefully you will enjoy this format and keep coming back to read the remaining posts in the series.
I’m going to start off by looking at our quarterback situation because I feel like there are still too many people out there who seem to be looking at this position as an empty spot which we still need to find the right person to fill. So where do I think we stand right now?
Chad Pennington.- Pennington will be an unrestricted free agent as of September 1st, 2010 and he has clearly expressed his intentions to be a starter in the 2010 season, which means he is willing to go to another team. Furthermore, the Dolphins have not expressed any intentions of keeping him and I honestly don’t think we will resign him. Why? Pennington will never be a great playmaking quarterback. He just doesn’t have a strong enough arm to spread out the defense enough to open up our game.
Don’t get me wrong, I think he brought a lot to the team but I think we have outgrown him. Without a doubt, Pennington’s greatest contribution was in the locker room, he has a great leader quality and he was good at getting people motivated. Sure Pennington played a part in getting the team to win the division in 2008 but really what most people remember from us that season was the revival of the wildcat, without the wildcat we wouldn’t have gotten there and he collapsed at the beginning of the season, not to mention this is his third shoulder injury.
I think keeping Pennington as a backup quarterback could be a good option but at this point in time I really don’t think that will happen; nor do I think it is an option he would go for because there are a lot of teams out there in need of a quarterback and he does have a chance of getting his start somewhere else this upcoming season.
Chad Henne.- Anyone that knows me is aware of the fact that Henne is definitely in my list of top 3 players for the Dolphins this season (Davone Bess and Vontae Davis are the other 2). And honestly I’m still baffled by the fact that there are so many skeptics out there who still doubt Henne is our new QB. Not only did the guy end up with a 7-6 winning record as a starter and kept us in playoff contention until week 17 despite all our injuries; but he also has a rocket of an arm and he grows exponentially every week.
What most of these non-believers use as a basis for Henne not being good enough is the fact that he threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (12) this season. But how many great QBs had numbers like these during their first starting season? Payton Manning for examples threw 28 interceptions and 26 touchdowns, Tom Brady threw 12 interceptions and 18 touchdowns, a positive but not overly impressive record in these terms. Also worth mentioning is the the fact that these quarterbacks were indeed the designated starters at the beginning of the season thus they were, at least theoretically, better prepared for the job at hand.
I believe it is also important to take into consideration that more than a couple of those picks came as a result of good passes which were mishandled or tipped by the receivers, and that more than a few accurate passes were thrown and not caught which could have also led to the number of TDs adding up. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way blaming those stats merely on the receivers, it just serves to prove the point that the team chemistry will get better during the offseason and mistakes like these will be minimized. Henne and the receivers will be able to develop a rapport during the offseason which will serve to improve these issues tremendously. I should also add that providing Henne with a good #1 wide receiver will be the final ingredient needed to bump this guy up to the next level.
Henne had 3 300+ yards games this season even though his best long distance receiver is supposed to be Ted Ginn. And for all the people out there that love Marino, myself included, I feel the need to point out that during his first season as a starter Dan threw for a total of 2210 yards, Henne threw for a total of 2878 yards and that is with 3 fewer games and without guys like Mark Clayton and Mark Duper to help him with those long passes.
In case I haven’t made it clear enough up until now, I believe Henne is our starting quarterback and we should start embracing him as the new franchise quarterback because I believe he is here to stay and will be key in making us become the team to beat this decade.
Pat White.- I want to start off by saying, if nothing else there is one thing that this guy has that many other players wish they had (hmm Ginn) and that is guts. That was made clear during the last game of the season when he took that horrible hit in order to gain about 2 more yards in an attempt to get us that first down. He was running right by the sidelines and he could have stepped out at any point yet he went for it; and for that courage he gets my respect.
That being said, I don’t think the kid is cut out for the NFL, he is just too small and he doesn’t have an arm at all. Pat White is easily one of the worst draft picks we have ever made! I still see people out there talking about how good he is but really what is that based on? Undoubtedly his college career because the truth of the matter is he had a chance to prove himself during that last game of the season and he failed miserably. We had absolutely no offense in that game against the Steelers while Pat White was in it, it wasn’t even that he made mistakes, it was that he generate no plays at all.
I’m sorry but White just doesn’t cut it and if the opportunity for a trade was made available at all I believe they should take it.
Tyler Thigpen.- Now this guy unlike White did take the opportunity that was given to him and ran with it. A lot of people blamed the loss against the Steelers on the 2 interceptions he threw but the truth of the matter is that we would have never been in a position to win that game if it wasn’t for that long perfect TD pass to Bess and all the plays that set up that other TD as well.
This guy is young and has a lot of potential and he also has a great arm, during his starting season with the Kansas City Chiefs he accumulated a total of 2608 yards, 18 TDs and 12 interceptions. Keep in mind that he didn’t become a part of the Dolphins’ roster until late September after Pennington went down. Thigpen should be our backup quarterback next season.
So at this point in time I believe our QB position has been clearly defined with Henne as our starter and Thigpen as our backup. Pat White will likely remain our 3rd string quarterback and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple of “wildpat” plays next season although I would like for that to disappear altogether and for them to try to find a replacement for the position but I don’t believe it is something that needs to be addressed immediately, nor do I believe it is something they should focus on during the draft.
There is one more point I’d like to discuss in this post and that is the option of drafting Tim Tebow which is also something I seem to be hearing a lot of people say we should do since they seem to think he would be such a great addition to the wildcat. Let me start by saying that if you still think that our offense should be solely based on the wildcat and that our draft should be influenced based solely on this offensive play I hope you will be very disappointed but we will leave that up for further discussion later.
I don’t believe that Tebow will ever be great as a quarterback in the NFL, he has constantly proven that he does not work well when under pressure and he is oftentimes slow when it comes to delivering the football. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a different position in a couple of years, I personally think he should explore his potential as a tight end or as a full back. But if you are a Tebow fan I wouldn’t worry too much about him going to far, I believe he will get drafted by the Jags because if nothing else it will help them tremendously with ticket sales, which is something they are indesperate need to improve.
The following are some of the QBs will be free agents in 2010: Kyle Orton (Denver Broncos), Jason Campbell (Washington Redskins), Tarvaris Jackson (Minnesota Vikings), Kellen Clemmens (New York Jets), Charlie Batch (Pittsburgh Steelers), David Carr (New York Giants), and Daunte Culpepper (Detroit Lions).
The following are some of the QBs which will enter into the draft: Jimmy Claussen (Notre Dame), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Colt McCoy (Texas), Tim Tebow (Florida), Tony Pike (Cincinnati), Jevan Snead (Ole Miss), Sean Canfield (Oregon State), and Bill Stull (Pittsburgh).
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