Behind Enemy Lines: Part 2

In Part 2 of this week's series, Dolphin Digest's Alain Poupart talks Chad Henne, Wildcat, Cameron Wake and more as we continue our lookahead to Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

Alain Poupart, the associate editor of Dolphin Digest, checks in for Part 2 of Behind Enemy Lines. If you missed Part 1, CLICK HERE.


Bill Huber: In the 2008 draft, the Packers took Brian Brohm and the Dolphins took Chad Henne one pick later. That was a horrendous decision by the Packers. How has it worked out for Miami?

Alain Poupart: The jury is still out on that one. Henne has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he's also shown some disturbing things, such as a tendency to stare down his receivers. It's also somewhat troubling that reports keep popping up — first from Vic Carucci of NFL.com and then Chris Mortensen of ESPN — that Bill Parcells is disappointed in Henne. The next few weeks are critical for Henne.

BH: I love the Wildcat because it's such a throwback offensive style. With that said, I wonder if it might do more harm than good sometimes in that it takes the quarterback out of the flow. I'd be interested to get your take on it, and is it still as effective now that they've been running it for awhile?

AP: I'm not a fan of it at all these days. As you mention, it can be disruptive to the quarterback, which makes no sense to me when you're trying — or at least should be — to determine whether Henne is the guy for the long haul. The Dolphins pulled it out on a third-and-6 on their first drive against New England and all of us in the press box were going nuts. It's also not nearly as effective as it once was, and the biggest reason is that there's no threat of a pass and teams just stack the line the second they see Ronnie Brown in the shotgun ready to take the snap.

BH: It seems like Ricky Williams is a hundred years old to me but he and Ronnie Brown continue to provide a potent one-two punch, and the fullback, Lousaka Polite, is automatic on third-and-short with 20 consecutive conversions on third- or fourth-and-1. Can you talk about the dynamic in the backfield? Are Brown and Williams simply interchangeable? And just how good is Polite?


Ronnie Brown (left) and Ricky Williams
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
AP: I'll start with Polite, who is a major contributor on offense. Given his versatility, he has to be among the best in the league, even though he did whiff on a blitz in the New England game. As for Ronnie and Ricky, they are pretty much interchangeable and they do well sharing the load. They haven't put up huge numbers so far this season, but that might be more a function of an offensive line in flux. The interesting thing about Brown and Williams is that both have contracts that expire after this season, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

BH: What can we expect on special teams this week? For my readers who might not know, the Dolphins fired special teams coordinator John Bonamego, who used to hold that post in Green Bay. The Packers' special teams started off strong but have been horrendous the last three weeks.

AP: I wouldn't expect much because the problems on special teams weren't necessarily Bonamego's fault. The Dolphins don't really have a bona fide kickoff returner, while Davone Bess is a good but not explosive punt returner. The real problem has been blocking for punts and covering kickoffs. There's really no real reason to expect major improvement anytime soon.

BH: What's the state of the Dolphins' defense? If memory serves, they suffered some personnel losses before the season. How do you explain the 23 points allowed in the first half and the 69 allowed in the second half? And tell us about leading pass rusher Cameron Wake.

AP: That last stat might be a tad misleading when it comes to the Dolphins defense because New England scored on a kickoff return, blocked field goal return and interception return in the second half, so that's 21 points right there. The Dolphins have had injuries on defense, namely to linebacker Channing Crowder and defensive end Jared Odrick, but there's a chance both might play this weekend. The defense overall has been pretty good all year, the one exception coming against the Jets. New linebacker Karlos Dansby has been making a lot of plays from his linebacker spot and second-year player Vontae Davis has become an absolute stud at cornerback. The jury is still out as to just how good this defense can become, but there are some reasons for optimism.

Cameron Wake leads the Dolphins with three sacks and has been by far the team's most consistent pass rusher. The former Penn State defensive end came to the Dolphins after winning back-to-back CFL Outstanding Defensive Player honors while recording 39 sacks in 2007 and 2008. In his first year with the Dolphins last season, he showed tremendous pass-rushing potential while backing up Joey Porter at weakside linebacker. He's now a full-time starter and has shown a lot of improvement in his run defense. As a pass rusher, he's likely to reach double digits in sacks.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Packer Report Top Stories