Wildcat Hurting Henne?

QB Chad Henne

Although the Dolphins tweaked their Wildcat package Sunday by implementing the old college-style option run with rookie quarterback Pat White behind center, it's possible that the gimmicky offense is retarding the growth of quarterback Chad Henne, who has made just five NFL starts.

Henne is being yanked in and out of the lineup, with White and running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams taking snaps from center. It's difficult for him to get a rhythm going or his timing with receivers. White took eight snaps Sunday, giving Henne even more time on the sidelines to cool down.

Of 68 offensive plays, Henne sat out or was a decoy on 18 of them.

Coach Tony Sparano has said that being on the sideline during drives could be beneficial for Henne, almost like an extra timeout where he could confer with quarterbacks coach David Lee and communicate with offensive coordinator Dan Henning. But Henne has clearly regressed since the first Jets game when he completed 20 of 26 passes for 241 yards with two touchdowns and no picks for a lofty 130.4 passer rating.

Since then, he has completed just 49 of 91 for an average of 180 yards per game with just one touchdown pass along with nine sacks. The Dolphins passing attack is ranked 29th in yards per game and per play, as well as 26th in sacks per pass play.

Sparano praised Henne for improving his pocket presence and throwing the ball away more Sunday, but he rarely spots his second option and seems to panic under duress. Henne and the Dolphins have only five pass plays for 25 yards or more.

"(Sometimes) he doesn't have a chance there, but I thought for the most part (Sunday) Chad handled the pressure pretty well," Sparano said. "I think he is getting better and better at seeing it. I thought (Sunday) his pocket presence was very good. If you want to talk about how he improved from last week to this week, I should say his pocket presence was much better this week -- his anticipation, ball getting out pretty fast (Sunday). Did not hold the ball, did not take, I mean we got sacked a couple of times, but we got sacked, he didn't take sacks."

It was tough to argue with the success of the Wildcat when it was averaging 7.1 yards a play after the first five games and the Dolphins were leading the NFL in rushing with 177 yards, but in the last three games the Wildcat has been declawed.

On Sunday, the 'Cat gained just 7 yards on 10 attempts, including a 1-yard TD pass from Brown to tight end Joey Haynos. In the past three games, it's gained just 43 yards on 21 attempts, 2 yards per play.

The receivers are also out of the picture during the Wildcat other than possibly one of them being used as a blocker.

"I don't really think so," Camarillo said of the Wildcat adversely affecting the passing attack. "It's part of our run scheme. Everyone looks at it as a gimmick. ... It's helped us win games and helped us put points on the board this last week again. It's only beneficial.

"We're used to coming in and out, so it doesn't affect (receivers). I don't know about quarterbacks."

Camarillo admitted that the receiving corps, consisting of rookie Brian Hartline, demoted starter Ted Ginn Jr., undrafted second-year slot receiver Davone Bess and himself could be helping Henne more. There have been a plethora of dropped passes in the past three games, including critical ones by Hartline and Ginn on Sunday.

"We could do a better job of it, you could always do a better job until you have 100 percent of completion percentage and your quarterback trusts you could do a better job. We work on it every week, and hopefully we can build more and more chemistry with Chad as time goes on," Camarillo said.

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