It seems that everyone is making a point to voice their opinion for a certain individual to join the ranks of our wonderful Eagles. It first began over the linebackers - an obvious choice for such nominations. However I wish to begin with a new (or fairly new) position to begin the individual arguments, the Quarterback. We have Michael Vick - the clear cut starter for multiple years. We have Mike Kafka - a solid back up - but I am not sold on his "future" potential as handling any role as a starter in the post-Vick era. And while we are still in the Vick era, it is important to realize the fact that he himself is only human and is unlikely that he will last an entire season - the sooner as a fan we accept this more important the QBs as a whole become. Now why Chad Henne? A 2nd round pick for the Miami Dolphins, it seems as if though his dream of being a starter today is long gone after his four seasons with Miami. We have all heard of Miami's "bid" for the number one pick earlier in the season which started under him. But throughout his time he did show flashes, as I will attempt to show. He has great tangibles as well as a few intangibles. All of his problems over his starting career I will also attempt to address the best I can under what I THOUGHT could be reasons for his lack of success.
And so my debate begins, with a clip of his rookie year...
This is his first preseason game I believe. It is actually a relatively horrible game for the Dolphins in general however there are two individual plays I ask for you to look at. The first is at around the 00:40 second mark, and the play will be hard to miss, trust me. The second is at the 01:45 mark or so, right after the 2nd half highlights introduction.
My best friend is a die hard Dolphins fan. This was the first footage he ever showed me of Chad Henne and asked me to just "watch" this one play. Did you hear the announcer? My friend said it's because he hadn't seen a young gun with a Dolphins uniform throw that hard since Dan Marino.
And so I begin with, he has amazing tangibles. He has a ROCKET arm (as later highlights can prove). He has good pocket presence and as I will show in his 2009 year (there is a reason why his 2009 season is THE season I argue with). He stands tall at 6' 3" and keeps his feet moving in the pocket. He likes the to stay in the pocket but will run if he has to (not THAT fast though). I joked with my friend that if he decided to leave the pocket half a second earlier on nearly every scramble he's done, they probably would be a winning team on account of how many times he's done it on 3rd down and fallen short. He also has shown some intangibles such as good pocket presence (could improve) and has games where he has been a good game manager. He also flows well with progressions. So well he almost found the RBs too much (but with Shady there...).
And so the first will say that this just preseason in his rookie year nearly four years ago. The level of play was most likely sub-par for NFL season standards so how does he fair against NFL caliber players? We get that chance in 2009 as Pennington suffered ANOTHER shoulder injury, ushering the era of Henne. So how does he do?
Well he does share a division with the then, 2009 Jets, who advanced into the AFC championship with the help of all 53 players minus one mark Sanchez.
And so with these highlights I argue that he can make several of the throws that are required for an NFL quarterback and can put quite a bit of zip onto it, He showed good presence under pressure (screen pass and one other). Showed touch, a bit of boot-leg mobility, and his rocket arm on that TD pass to Ginn Jr. (Kolb could not make that throw - we all know this). Oh and by the way, how about how cool he was in the 4th quarter, his first 4th quarter comeback.
But Chad Henne we all know has his down days. Those are the one's people will point to but I would like to bring up another point, an intangible in my opinion, but his ability to shake off past mistakes and keep his head in the game.
This wasn't a good game by any means for Chad Henne. But for those who watched, what did he do? He won the game, after giving it away it seemed. And for the record, my best friend showed me an extended highlight reel of this particular game and Henne made 3 straight AMAZING completions (including the last throw in this highlight reel). He makes mistakes, all quarterbacks and humans do. But he forgets his mistakes, mans up, and can get the job done. And put up another comeback please.
Alright so he beat the Jets, which we all know now is an over-hyped team. They beat the Bucs who now...But can he beat a real winner? A team that can say they have a chance to make the playoffs every year. Like the New England Patriots.
That was a great game because I watched that with my best friend at the bar while we were pounding the Falcons (Oh Weaver, you were so so awesome). And within it, showed everything Henne can do - throw hard, with touch, under pressure, short, medium, long and a bit of a step. Oh and he led another 4th quarter comeback.
So what happened? Why is he not under an extension or even succeeding? My friend and I have concluded on some opinions on that matter (so you know its Dolphin fan approved). Our first point to make, is the remarkable man named Dan Henning. Henning was the offensive coordinator of the Dolphins until last season. Why was Henning responsible? Because of his age, becoming senile, whatever the reason the Dolphins offense was from the moment the play was called, too stagnant even in today's run heavy offenses. This led to innumerable horrible play calls to which the DOLPHINS TEAM could not compensate for (Imagine the Castillo argument - if you make bad calls it doesn't matter how "talented" a team is). The other reason why his play didn't translate to success was the talent around him and the scheme in place. Overall, their offense lacked talent during his tenure as the starter. People will say that when Brandon Marshall arrived, there was the talent he needed but Marshall is actually a hindrance to Henne because of the offensive scheme implemented from then on. It is because of all of this that points for me to believe that he would actually succeed here.
And so I now go into the why he will be good HERE
Our offensive talent is overflowing compared to the Dolphins
We have solid starters across the board in every position. The biggest hole in our offense is Jackson's contract situation which we all know WILL BE ADDRESSED sometime soon. So really we have no REAL weaknesses. But why the Eagles? Well for one, it is all because of our personnel - they fit Henne. I hope someone smart has realized that the year with all the highlights I had shown were from the year 2009, the season BEFORE they acquired Brandon Marshall. So who did they have? A speed demon named Ted Ginn Jr. and I should also mention it really was ONLY him. He played well when he had someone to stretch the field for his slot and #2 receivers, leaving 7 in the box for Miami's run game - we can do the same thing.
Our offensive scheme fits Henne
Not necessarily in terms of West Coast offense but in terms of the general types of routes we run. Compared to most passing attacks, we are quite vertical. This philosophy of stretching the field naturally plays to Henne's strength - arm strength. With our deep and intermediate routes compared to the shorter routes in Miami (hardly any go's trust me), I believe he can "fit" into our system
Our coaches are better for teaching QBs
Need I say more about the history of Andy Reid or Marty Mornhinweg? For all the arguments that he didn't come from the same system, I believe arguments can be made for that we can teach him the necessary components of our offense.
Henne has starting experience and is low cost
Say what you will about his starting career, but all those wins and losses amount to experience no matter which way you cut it. Right now, though I think Kafka is adequate, we NEED a backup with some real NFL experience. And compared to potential other QBs in free agency, I anticipate Henne's price tag to be quite cheap. With the others, Flynn is looking for a starting job, McNabb is done, Orton will be too expensive; I actually like Campbell but I think he will also be expensive and Henne does offer something for the Eagles franchise unlike the others.
Potential transitional starter post vick-era
I believe when Vick leaves, Henne will be at a prime age to take over the reigns while we search for our next franchise successor. I believe that sitting on the bench and taking a break from a starting role, really learn an offense, and with his tangibles and intangibles help this franchise survive until our next guy. I like Henne over others as a transitional players because his youth will allow us to search maybe an extra season or two compared to the older QBs we can gain in free agency. I also believe drafting a quarterback this season is also a bit risky when that really makes Kafka backup by default in the knowledge of the system as well as the most experienced back up we have.
In conclusion, Henne isn't the secret to success for the decade. He isn't the greatest prospect in the league. But he has a lot of potential. The potential I can see Reid and Mornhinweg take advantage of and help him grow and learn the game. In the post I've tried to show how he has everything we could ask for as a potential back up and quarterback. I understand where hesitation can come from with getting this guy (because I've seen bad games too). I truly believe however that outside factors really influenced his success. I believe that this team is better suited for his style of play. And I believe his potential can be reached here in midnight green.