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  Phins.com Interview with Chad Henne
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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Rookie Chad Henne is widely considered to be the future at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. But that realization wasn't immediately apparent. Coming to the Dolphins from Michigan as their second of two second round picks, he was quickly overwhelmed in OTAs and in training camp as he faced a pro defense for the first time. He soon realized that his decision-making and his physical reactions would have to be much faster if he was to be successful at the NFL level.


Eventually, Henne's grasp of things began to improve, and he started to make some eye-catching throws. Overall, his work in the preseason made a good impression on the Dolphin brain trust. It was so good that, had the Dolphins not been able to sign Chad Pennington, Henne would have been the starting quarterback on opening day (per offensive coordinator Dan Henning). We can only guess as to how Henne would have fared.


Of course we all know how the Pennington signing turned out. For Henne, Pennington's arrival was probably a personal godsend. He has the opportunity, as does Beck, to learn from one of the best in the game, a pro's pro. There's no question he will be better for it, and that he has a promising career ahead of him.


I visited with Henne at the Dolphins Training Facility in Davie to get his impression of his rookie season.


On if the mental aspect of the game is the hardest part for a rookie quarterback

Oh, definitely. Defensive coordinators love to disguise and try to throw the quarterback off his game. I think that's the whole key, especially with a young quarterback who will be pressured more than a Chad Pennington, who doesn't get as many pressures. With a young quarterback, they're going to pressure (more) and try to throw you off more.


On the most challenging part physically of playing quarterback as a pro versus college

At first it was the anticipation, getting the ball out a lot quicker. Defensive guys break on the ball a lot faster than in college; windows tighten up, and you've got to get the ball out earlier.


On how a quarterback can help the offensive line

We help the line out with the fronts to adjust. If it's a wide technique on Jake (Long), or if (a defender) is going to come up the field and sit inside, we help out with (recognizing) the fronts.


On his impression of Long's rookie season

He had to adjust to the speed of the rushers, the size of the rushers, and how powerful they are from college (versus the NFL).  He had some bumps in the road early in the season, but right now he's at the top of his game. He's run blocking (and) he's pass blocking well. I think he's doing really well and he's going to keep getting better.


On adapting to the longer NFL season versus college

With me not playing, it doesn't feel like it's the end of the season. At the same time there (was) still preparation going through the week and preparing as hard as you can.


On what he wants to work on most this offseason

Physically, I feel I'm up to par with my footwork. It's just the mental process of studying defenses; understanding what comes out of each defensive front and the coverages they can give me. That will be a big challenge for me.


On if playing in front of 100,000 fans at Michigan helped prepare him for the NFL

I haven't really been in an away stadium that's as loud (as Michigan). Denver was a good atmosphere. I don't think the big atmosphere will challenge me.


On the process of adjusting to having money and if it has changed him

It definitely shows all the hard work you've put in up to this point. You're grateful for what you have, all the God-given talent you have. But money's money and you've got to put it away, can't spend it all, and just be smart about it. People around you have to support you, (and) don't change they way they treat you or you treat them. That's the biggest key. Your family staying with you and the people around you.


On adjusting to the South Florida lifestyle

It's great. You've got the beach here, the nightlife. It's a great time here but you've just got to stay off the streets, don't go out (late) at night, and stay out of trouble, just like any other place.



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