What Will Henning Bring?

After weeks of speculation, the Dolphins ended up hiring Dan Henning as their offensive coordinator. There is some question as to whether Henning, who served as an assistant for Bill Parcells with the Jets in the late 1990s, was the Dolphins' first choice, but that's irrelevant at this point. What matters is what Henning can bring to a Miami offense that has struggled for many years.

Henning actually brings with him a pretty impressive resume, with head-coaching stints with the Chargers and Falcons and four stops as an offensive coordinator with Carolina, the Jets, Washington and Buffalo.

He won a Super Bowl title as offensive coordinator of the Redskins in 1982 and won an NFC championship in the same capacity with the Panthers in 2003.

That's the good news.

The bad news is in the 16 years where Henning was a head coach or offensive coordinator, his offenses finished in the top 10 in total yardage only three times.

In his last coaching stop, Henning's Carolina Panthers finished 24th, 22nd, 13th, 16th and 31st in total offense.

That's not exactly the kind of stuff that's going to inspire confidence Henning will have all the answers for the Dolphins.

While he's been around a long time, Henning doesn't have the same kind of a reputation as a Mike Martz, for example.

Henning's offenses usually have been built around physical running games, and he has been known to like the two-tight end formation.

Because the Dolphins' personnel is likely to undergo many changes between now and the start of training camp, it's impossible to predict what the offense will look like.

But because Bill Parcells like physical football, because new GM Jeff Ireland says he likes big players, and because of Henning's background, it's safe to assume we'll be looking at a power running team.

That will be a change from the days of Cam Cameron, who liked total balance and trick plays, and Scott Linehan, who preferred a down-the-field passing attack.

But those two approaches didn't work for the Dolphins, and the strength of this team as of right now clearly is at running back with Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and free agents-to-be Jesse Chatman and Samkon Gado.

At the time Henning's name first was mentioned for this job, it was believed he would serve in this capacity for a year or two before giving way to Karl Dorrell, who was hired as wide receivers coach.

For the time being, though, it's Henning's show. And history tells us that means power running. In other words, Bill Parcells' kind of football.


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