Here Comes Henne

There are more than a few Dolphins fans who have been clamoring for Chad Henne for a while now. They're going to get their wish after the news, first reported by ESPN, that Chad Pennington will miss the remainder of the season because of the shoulder injury he sustained in Sunday's loss at San Diego. Ready or not, the Chad Henne has arrived.

It was inevitable that Henne would take over at some point because, really, that's why the Dolphins took him in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Henne was going to be the quarterback of the future, no question about it.

The perfect scenario, though, had him watching and learning from Pennington for another year before he took over in 2010.

That thinking might have played in the decision not to make a significant move toward signing Pennington to a new contract with his original deal scheduled to expire after this season.

Even without the injury, there was a possibility that Henne would have played this season anyway, the logical scenario being the Dolphins being out of playoff contention.

With the 0-3 start, maybe it was headed that way, but nobody expected this to happen this quickly, this suddenly.

Is Henne ready? We won't know for sure until Sunday's game against Buffalo, but what we saw Sunday after Pennington went down clearly wasn't very encouraging.

Henne completed 10 of 19 passes for 92 yards, but threw a bad interception when his sideline throw made for an easy pick-six for Chargers safety Eric Weddle, and then there was another play where he scrambled 2 or 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage before firing downfield.

Mind you, this was Henne's first NFL action of consequence. Before then, his only appearances had come in preseason games and at the end of last year's blowout loss to Arizona when the outcome had long been decided by the time he entered.

When he came into the game Sunday, the score was tied 3-3 and the game was there for the taking.

Yes, Henne did lead the Dolphins to a late touchdown, but by that time the score already was 23-6.

The last time the Dolphins had a former second-round pick getting a start was John Beck a couple of years ago, and he was nowhere near equipped to get the job done, particularly on a team that had little in terms of offensive line or offensive weapons.

The situation is much more favorable for Henne, who has two tremendous runners in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, and a pretty solid offensive line.

Being that he's virtually a rookie, we're not expecting miracles out of Henne, even though some fans would have you believe he'll become Dan Marino overnight.

It is crucial, however, that Henne show that he belongs. In other words, show that he's not another John Beck.

At 0-3, it's pretty unrealistic to think the Dolphins will make the playoffs this season, but this year still might be considered a success in the long run if Henne can prove he indeed is the guy through the remaining 13 games.

If not, the Dolphins will find themselves in the horrible position of having to start over -- yet again -- at quarterback.

That, even more than the injury to Pennington, would be devastating.

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