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Henne Starting To Pick Play Up, Perhaps Front Office Should Do The Same

The past week has been eventful for the Dolphins in training camp. Last Monday, the team held a scrimmage open to the public. True to form, the fans started to boo starting quarterback Chad Henne, chanting “We Want Orton”. Henne then later responded in a press conference that the chants did get to him, because he is human too.

While Henne’s rebuttal was taken quite out of context by the national media, the boos seem to have jump started Henne’s play as of late. He has put together a string of solid practices, and in todays scrimmage, threw for 3 touchdowns, all to star receiver Brandon Marshall, and only one interception. He completed 11-17 passes according to the beat reporters that were present. Even though I cannot say that I was in attendance, this sounds like Henne’s best performance of the summer to date. Head coach Tony Sparano also said more and more players are starting to approach Henne regarding the offensive formations.

With Henne’s play picking up, this drives encouragement into the fan base, and while it may be false encouragement, such as the Vikings victory was last year, it is still encouragement nevertheless.

But on the other end of the spectrum, a member of the Dolphins staff, Tony Sparano, took a more offensive approach to the fans negative chants, saying that they “sickened him”.

While Henne’s solid play lately downsizes the overall importance of the chants, Sparano’s comments struck me the wrong way, hit a nerve you could say.

For a team to pursue another starting quarterback in the way that the Dolphins pursued Denver’s Kyle Orton, the fans have every right to boo Henne after his incumbent tenure as our starting Qb. Coming into the off-season, quarterback was one of the biggest question marks on the roster, and the Dolphins failed to address this position for the most part. Instead of bringing in Orton, or Vince Young, or even Marc Bulger, the Dolphins brought in Matt Moore, the former backup turned starter for the lowly Carolina Panthers.

The Dolphins failed pursuit of Orton almost resembled the Dolphins failed pursuit of current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Looking for perhaps a change of pace, the Dolphins flew out both owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland to woo Harbaugh. After Harbaugh signed with the 49ers, the Dolphins were stuck with Sparano, and thus placed in an awkward situation.

So after an off-season where the Dolphins were expected to make numerous glossy moves, with perhaps signing a top-tier running back, and trading for a solid quarterback, the Dolphins settled for Moore, and trading for former New Orleans Saints running back, Reggie Bush.

After rumors flew of DeAngelo Williams or perhaps even Ahmad Bradshaw to Miami, the Dolphins seemingly settled for Bush. While Bush creates mismatches against linebackers when lining out as a receiver, he has not yet proved in his career that he can be the feature back in a system, something the Dolphins were hoping to pick up this off-season.

So my response to Sparano comments on the fans behavior is this; ” The front offices approach this off-season sickens me sir”. “We failed miserably at both getting a new head coach and a new starting quarterback, and with that, are the laughingstock of the NFL at the moment. While we were rumored to be big buyers this off-season, and had our names in on virtually every big free agent race, we came away with nothing. Reggie Bush is our big free agent name this year, when it was long believed that either DeAngelo Williams or Ahmad Bradshaw would be.” So don’t criticize the fans for showing up to an open practice, and voicing their displeasure at your organizations failure to live up to our standards. How much hype has this team had over the course of your tenure as head coach, and how much of that hype has this team lived up to? None. Enough said sir, if you wish for us to be more supportive, give us a better product to cheer for. We have the defense, the weapons, and the line, but for some reason we are constantly held back from reaching our potential because of something or other, whether it be poor play-calling or poor quarterback play. So when you say that the fans behavior “sickens” you, I would like to come out and say that your front office’s approach to this whole off-season has “sickened” me.

To explain the above comments, we were long believed to be buyers in this years market. Williams and Bradshaw were thought to be ours for the taking and we let them slip through our hands. We didn’t even really compete for them, and while that may be attributed to their high asking price, Bradshaw’s deal was well within our reach, especially after clearing out all of the cap space that we have been clearing out lately with the waiving of Channing Crowder, and Tim Dobbins, and Vernon Carey taking a paycut.

It seems all the Dolphins have garnered this off-season is embarrassment. Everyone knows that we are on the doorstep of becoming perennial contenders with just a few more pieces. A solid quarterback, a return to form by our running game. Those are our two big weaknesses at the moment, and the Dolphins seemingly stood still in that regard.

What surprised me, and also added to the motivation behind this post, was the approach the Philadelphia Eagles took to the off-season. They went out and got all the pieces they felt they needed to get over the hump and get them a Super Bowl ring. They added the best free agent on the market, and an above average player at pretty much every weakness on their roster. That is what the Dolphins were “reportedly” looking to do, add above average players at their two big weaknesses, and more depth. So while the Eagles went out and shocked the NFL with their flurry of moves, and got themselves serious consideration as contenders, the Dolphins stood pat at where they were and went into camp with virtually the same players as last year, only without Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, and with rookie Daniel Thomas and Bush.

So with the Eagles doing what the Dolphins should have done, and the New England Patriots getting much better with the addition of Chad Ocho Cinco and Albert Haynesworth as well as Shaun Ellis, the Dolphins are forced to prove all of the doubters wrong this year, with just about the same roster as last year, and the same questions needing answered as at the beginning of the off-season. Instead of going into the season with a revamped backfield, the Dolphins chose to stay the same, and thus will have to rely on Henne improving and growing into a solid quarterback, and Thomas and Bush being able to come into their own rather quickly in their new roles.

The Dolphins can still make the playoffs with this roster, without a doubt in my mind, but with all of the hype going into free agency about who the Fins would pursue, and who the Dolphins were looking at (and they were going hard for Bradshaw and Orton) this summer has been somewhat of a disappointment if the team cannot get over the hump into the playoffs for the third straight year.

So for Sparano to say that the fans “sickened” him and did not meet his expectations for that night, it is only fair for us to express our displeasure with both him and the front office for their failure to meet our expectations for the off-season.

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One Response to “Henne Starting To Pick Play Up, Perhaps Front Office Should Do The Same”

  1. Shawn Green says:

    Thank you for having the incite to say what all dolfans wanted to. How many times have we been promised the moon only to get cheese. I have no ill-will toward Henne. I hope he does get better and lead us to the playoffs this season. But, in my opinion, he is not our future. I know that, and I’m sure the front office knows that as well. Many dolfans I’ve addressed call me a hater of Henne and not a true fan of this team. I certainly am not a GM, nor do I pretend to be. However, you cannot tell me that this team has put it’s best foot forward, like we were promised after that debacle with Harbaugh. What bothers me even more is that we have many of the important pieces in place.

    It starts at the top. We need an owner who has all his hopes, dreams, heart and soul invested into this team, not just money. All I’m asking for is what was promised to me and all the other dolfans around the world at the meeting Mr. Ross had when he reintroduced Sparano and Ireland as coach and GM. And that was to do whatever it takes to get our team better and faster. I’ve been a dolfan since 1971 when I was 5 years old and will be one until I die. Is it too much to ask to have an owner with the same conviction?

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