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Dolphins' Henne ready to take next step

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Posted Aug. 03, 2010 @ 1:24 p.m. ET
By Mike Holbrook

This is the 28th in a series of opinionated fantasy football columns that will be posted daily in July and August, providing fantasy owners with some insights to consider as they prepare for their drafts. You can get an in-depth preview of the upcoming fantasy football season with the purchase of the Yahoo! Sports / Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Guide 2010, available now in newsstands and bookstores, or online at PFWstore.com.

There's much to like about Dolphins QB Chad Henne heading into the 2010 season.

He's got 13 starts under his belt, plays behind a solid offensive line, has two talented running backs to carry the load and he'll be throwing to a much-improved WR corps that features one of the top 10 receivers in the game in Brandon Marshall.

The thing I like best about Henne is that he and the Dolphins are traveling under the radar this offseason, despite owner Stephen Ross' comments that he expects his team to win the Super Bowl this season.

That said, I do believe Miami, a division winner and playoff team two years ago, is poised to get back to the postseason. With Henne maturing as a strong signalcaller and the aforementioned supporting cast on offense complemented by a strong defense that will get a big boost from new coordinator Mike Nolan, the Dolphins are poised to have a very successful season.

Don't be overly concerned about the fact that Henne threw more interceptions than touchdowns (14 to 12) last season. Most young quarterbacks struggle with picks; it's part of the learning process and the adjustment to the pro game.

Look at the comments from Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano after watching Henne in OTAs in early June: "The greatest area we needed to see improvement in from Chad was the decision-making process and taking care of the football. The touch throws that are necessary in the middle of the field — he has shown improvement in both those areas. His numbers are off the charts. On Sunday, he was 12-for-12 in practice."

Henne showed he has the arm strength to make all the throws. He's a big pocket passer who will thrive with improved personnel around him. It was the finesse throws where he needed to be more precise.

Having Marshall, a true No. 1 receiver with 100-plus catches the past three years, aboard will serve as a huge security blanket for Henne, knowing that he doesn't have to be exceptionally fine with his throws at all times to connect with Marshall. Henne also will benefit from Marshall's playmaking ability to add yards and TDs to his numbers.

Having Marshall at the top of the WR depth chart moves Devone Bess into his best role as a reliable slot receiver and middle-of-the-field option. And it keeps the emerging Brian Hartline or Greg Camarillo, two productive receivers with excellent hands, in the role they should be in at No. 2.

RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are very good pass catchers out of the backfield, and TE Anthony Fasano can make plays in the passing game, too.

It all adds up to a big improvement for Henne, with 20-plus TD passes, 3,300-plus yards and definite starter potential for fantasy owners.

 

For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news, free agency and fantasy football, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.

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