Andy Cohen: Henne Showed Plenty, Just Couldn’t Outplay Brady

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Chad Henne answered all sorts of questions Monday night. In a positive way. He was accurate. He was in charge. His passes were crisp. With only a few exceptions, his decision-making was good. He looked like, well, what we’ve been waiting for him to look like. Like he belongs. In this offense. On this team. As its starting quarterback.

While the final score was clearly the biggest storyline, and the biggest downer for the Dolphins, Henne was a major subplot. How would he handle this new-look offense? Was the confidence placed on his shoulders justified? Is he the long-term answer for this franchise?

Although it is impossible to form any definite conclusions after only one game, the fact that Chad Henne played so well has to be considered an excellent sign for this team. Now, he must build off that performance. Do it again. And again. Show the consistency he has lacked in past seasons. Come out firing game after game and this team has a chance to make things interesting.

Henne threw for over 400 yards. That’s Marinoesque. Why, he even led the team in rushing.

Unfortunately for Henne, he was the second-best quarterback on the field Monday night. Tom Brady was simply too good, too accurate, too much in command. Brady put together a performance for the ages.

At times, it was hard to tell whether this was the failing of the Dolphins defense or simply a matter of arguably the most proficient quarterback in the league at his very best. Other times, though, it was clear that the Dolphins missed too many tackles, left too many Patriots open and did not pressure Brady in the manner that it had hoped.

For the first time in their history, a Dolphins defense gave up more than 600 yards. You know they are better than this. You know this is not the defense we will see during most of this marathon of a season. They’ve got to give Tom Brady and that offense credit and simply move on. What choice do they have?

“We worked on everything they (Patriots offense) showed us,” said Head Coach Tony Sparano. “We just didn’t make enough plays. It’s not acceptable.”

So the Dolphins are 0-1 right now and must be wondering what they have to do to beat the Patriots, what they have to do to stop that Patriots offense. But that must now wait until they meet again on Christmas Eve. The prevailing thought for these Dolphins is coming back Sunday against Houston with a better overall performance, with a home victory that this team needs so badly.

There were certainly some positive signs against the Patriots, much of them centering around Henne. “Chad did what we’ve seen him do all preseason,” Sparano said.

How about that first drive for the Dolphins offense? It was the type of drive you want to bottle and put up somewhere high on your trophy case.

It was everything we had heard about. Attack. Aggressive. Long passes. Great throws. A diving catch by Brandon Marshall. Reggie Bush isolated on a linebacker. An unreal one-handed catch by tight end Anthony Fasano. And it was all capped off with a quarterback draw by Henne for a 10-yard score.

When’s the last time you’ve seen the Dolphins run a quarterback draw? Can everybody say Jay Fiedler?

Twelve mostly wonderful plays. Eighty-four yards. More than seven minutes off the clock. Henne looking in complete command. The place was buzzing; the Patriots were reeling.

If only the Dolphins could have kept that heat turned up high. That’s got to be a goal moving forward. Take all the good things the Dolphins did in that first drive and do it again and again.

And hope that Henne gets better support from the Dolphins defense, beginning this Sunday against a very talented Houston Texans team.

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