Henning Answers Critics

This isn't the first public flogging for Dan Henning, the Dolphins' embattled offensive coordinator. So coming off a 16-0 loss to the Bears, just the second home shutout the Dolphins have suffered in the past 40 years, Henning came out swinging Wednesday as he was asked for the first time this season about his job security.

"Job security?" he said, eyes twinkling. "You understand I've been retired twice, so job security is not something I worry about. I worry about trying to take what we have and doing the best we can with it."

Fans have been lighting up message boards and blogs with calls for Henning's removal. Most want quarterbacks coach David Lee to take over ASAP. Others believe Chad Pennington could go straight from the X-ray room to the coaching booth and make the offense purr.

Then there was two-time Pro Bowl guard Mark Schlereth, a Super Bowl winner with the Broncos and Redskins now working as an ESPN analyst. Schlereth savaged Henning's offense on the air, ripping the Dolphins for an "awful job" of run/pass balance against the Bears.

"I could've put this game plan together," Schlereth said, "with a box of Crayolas and a pizza box."

Ouch.

"I hear you guys and I hear the fans and I hear coach (Tony) Sparano on occasion: 'Why didn't we run the ball?'" Henning said. "Well, we didn't abandon the run, the run abandoned us in the (Bears) game."

While running just 48 offensive plays, the Dolphins produced a measly 39 rushing yards, lowest output of Sparano's 43-game tenure in South Florida. Just 12 of those rushing yards came from someone other than a scrambling Tyler Thigpen, and the running backs had just seven rushing attempts combined.

According to Henning, before the Bears stretched their lead to 16-0 late in the third quarter, the Dolphins faced 16 situations of first-and-10 or second-and-6 or better. Of those, the Dolphins "attempted to run the ball" nine times, he said.

A 10th run call, Henning said, was audibled to a 15-yard pass to Brian Hartline to open the second half.

"I'm not worried about that part of it," Henning said of run/pass balance. "I'm worried about being effective, efficient, and we're not doing that right now. We are committed to getting back on track, whatever it takes to get back on track."


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