October 13, 2010
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike and it had those embarrassing pesky training wheels on it with your dad hovering right behind you? Your balance was nonexistent but your imagination was twice your size. Your mind promised you that soon you'd be able to fly down the street with the cool kids that ruled the block (minus the training wheels and dad of course.)
Well, I think sometimes as we grow older we still yearn for those feelings of independence, that excitement of risk, the trial and error lesson plan, the success attained only by trying your hardest and having a short memory when it comes to those scrapes and bruises. We see the cool kids' whiz past us and feel like we can be that cool, but are still equipped the damned training wheels. Usually because our dads say we aren't ready to take them off.
This theory is especially painful to watch when it pertains most to our home team quarterback. Chad Henne, drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft by our beloved Miami Dolphins, has been babied into the league like most of the quarterbacks are nowadays. During his first year he sat, watched, and learned from Chad Pennington who played the older-but-nice brother role to Henne. Henne watched his 'big bro' turn a doomed 1-15 franchise into an 11-5 playoff team within a year. He was a sponge during this season, just watching the kids on their bikes. The following season started off with Miami struggling early before Pennington suffered a familiar season-ending injury. Henne went from watching the kids on the bikes to being forced onto his, with training wheels at least. Not necessarily baptism by fire considering that the Fins were a run-first team with no threats at wide receiver at that point, and no surprise to anyone in the league.
The Other Kids
Not so Fast
It seems that everyone except the coaching staff in Miami knows that this is a quarterback-driven, passing league. Another point of interest is how every good quarterback, including Mark Sanchez, uses the pump fake often and looks off defenders with his eyes. Chad Henne has gotten into the troubling trend of locking onto his target as soon as he snaps the ball without taking his eyes off the intended receiver. Then he doesn't pump fake to get the defender out of position, leading to a forced pass into tight and risky coverage. With a few tweaks to minor flaws like this, I believe Henne can be an elite quarterback in this league.
The training wheels should be thrown out. Now. Trust the kid and hope that your guidance will keep him out of trouble. He could be a superstar but we won't know if we keep up the baby act. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope that those in charge have a change of heart. The last thing we need is foe Brady and Sanchez stroll by laughing as they pop-a-wheelie over Henne's dream of being the top-tier quarterback he can be. It's time to let the boy play.