A conversation I had yesterday about Chad Henne was one I have wanted to have for some time. It went a little something like this...
I asked what would have happened if Henne, who was the starter of the Miami Dolphins in 2011, had not gotten injured and Matt Moore had not finished the season behind center?
The reason I asked the questions were purely selfish for this column.
I wanted to know if Henne was good enough to stay in Miami had he remained healthy and if he had not gotten hurt, would the Dolphins have taken Ryan Tannehill last year at the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft?
The sports writer and good friend said he could not answer that because there was more to the decision to allow Henne to seek free agency than just the injury. He and I both agreed that regardless of the 0-3 start by the Dolphins before Henne’s injury, he looked better as a quarterback and more comfortable in the Miami system, like he had turned a corner.
I have always thought what was the Dolphins’ loss was certainly the Jaguars' gain.
But now, Henne, a second round pick out of Michigan in 2008, is in a similar situation on Jacksonville, competing for a job that should be his based on performance (which was only slightly better but still better) over a player who was injured (Blaine Gabbert) last season.
Gabbert is the “Chosen One” by some based on his youth, his contract and the fact the Jaguars have had three four head coaches since Gabbert was drafted in 2011. That’s not fair to anyone who plays behind center.
I for one want to see a real quarterback controversy and for Henne to come out on top. Here are some things to consider. Gabbert was the starter of this franchise for the first 10 games of the season. Henne mopped up the last six.
In those games, Henne had 2,038 yards passing and 11 touchdowns. Gabbert threw for 1,662 and nine scores. Something tells me there is more efficiency in Henne’s game, even if his completion percentage was less than the younger Gabbert.
Also, Henne seems to have a better command of the team in the huddle, in the pocket and has better presence behind center. Those things are important to have when there is an amount of credibility in who wins and who loses and and how those losses are handled.
The debate between the two “starters” will continue July 25th at EverBank Field’s practice facility where both men can battle it out for the starting role. Right now, according to management and head coach Gus Bradley, there is no decisive starters or leader. In my eyes, there already was one.
While age, youth, and money may dictate who starts for the Jaguars, making the right move based on body of work is the way it should go. Unfortunately, it will not go that way. And unfortunately, Henne will get the short end of the stick.
Much like he did in Miami.