MIAMI -- The Chad Henne era ended last March when the Dolphins let their former starting quarterback leave in free agency. Miami drafted rookie Ryan Tannehill the following month, but it wasn't until Sunday when Miami came full circle with that decision.
Tannehill added further confirmation that Miami made the right decision. He was clearly the better quarterback on the field in Miami's 24-3 victory over Henne and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12). It was Henne’s first return to Sun Life Stadium in a new uniform, and the Dolphins (6-8) embarrassed their former offensive leader by holding Jacksonville to one field goal in four quarters.
Henne was once considered Miami's quarterback of the future during his tenure from 2008-11. But the former second-round pick was a bust during four disappointing seasons. He is one of the main reasons the Dolphins are starting over this year with a new regime, led by rookie head coach Joe Philbin.
The Dolphins are hopeful history does not repeat itself with their new quarterback of the future: Tannehill. The rookie first-round pick showed good command of the offense Sunday and threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Tannehill also gained an additional 53 yards on quarterback sneaks that should put closure to the Tannehill-Henne debate.
"It was fun," Tannehill said of beating Jacksonville. "I think we executed the game plan on offense. I wish we would have put up more points in the red zone, I have to do a better job there. But we moved the ball consistently the entire game. I thought across the board we did a good job."
Henne's stats looked similar, but the performances couldn't be more different. Henne was 18-of-34 for 221 yards, but he gained most of his numbers in garbage time when Miami was leading big in the fourth quarter.
The book has long been out on Henne. Despite having a big arm, Henne is robotic in the pocket, doesn't take enough shots downfield and relies too much on his checkdowns. He did more of the same Sunday and Miami took advantage.
Tannehill brings more to the table than Henne. Tannehill has better mobility, can make all the throws and appears mentally tougher to handle the ups and downs of the NFL. The last one is key, because Henne often got down on himself in games and lost confidence with the locker room, coaching staff and Dolphins fans. Henne is Jacksonville’s problem now. The Dolphins are happy to move on with Tannehill.
Tannehill remains an unknown commodity. But it's clear Miami made the right choice to move on from Henne. The fifth-year quarterback showed many of the same things for Jacksonville that got him booted out of Miami.
In contrast, the future looks bright for Tannehill, who has gone three straight games without an interception. It's still very early in Tannehill's development, but the rookie could turn out to be everything Henne was not in Miami.