Chad Henne started the season riding the pine for his new club, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Following a season-ending injury to second year bust Blaine Gabbert, Henne has already gotten his second chance at a starting job in the NFL. Thus far, he has done a very good job of ensuring that he keeps it. In less than half the amount of games as Tannehill, Henne has managed to match our rookie QB’s 8 TD passes. He returns this Sunday for the first time to square off against his old club, a place that probably does not hold too many happy memories for him, just much disappointment for promise unfulfilled. But at this point of the season, this is one of the more intriguing aspects of this game, as it holds no playoff implications. In some forums, I see that people are still calculating all the things that would need to happen to get to the postseason, but the reality is that we are done; Tannehill acknowledged as much this week. When all the things that need to happen for the postseason are mostly out of your control, it does little good to speculate on it.
The Jaguars seem to have had something of a spark with Henne at the helm. Blackmon is finally living up to all the hype that he had now that Gabbert is no longer feeding him the ball, but despite this little ray of hope in what has been a very bleak season for the Jaguars, they remain a very poor team. MJD will miss this game as well. I still very much expect Khan to move them over to L.A. if he gets the chance. At 2-11 it is shaping up to be yet another very forgettable season for them that started out with an MJD holdout and could well finish up with the number 1 pick in the draft. In just about every statistical category, the Jags come in near the bottom. They do not score a lot of points (neither do we), but it’s worth noting that we are still a more capable offense. They do not get much pressure on the QB; in fact, their entire team’s total sacks for the season is the same as Cameron Wake’s alone. Also, they allow 147.5 rushing yards a game, good for 31st in the league.
Contract talks are now taking a front seat, the season is all but over and as I said the postseason is but a pipe dream now. So for many of these players, it’s just their careers to focus on now. Bush has recently talked contract negotiations, or rather the lack of any, so Sunday against such a poor defense Reggie will want to, and I believe shall, have a big game. He will want to either get those contract talks started or start making a case for another club to consider him when he hits the market. Though this would also be a great time to get Miller the ball some more.
Bess, for the first time in his 5-year career, will miss the game – another reason to expect to see more of a run game. Bess and Hartline have been Tannehill’s favorite targets all season and I don’t expect him to suddenly find another likely target now. But you never know, this might be the week that Tannehill opens it up and airs it out, hopefully with a greater degree of accuracy than he had last week. This will give some other guy on the receivers’ depth chart an opportunity to try and make a name for themselves.
Honestly, this is a game that, despite all our shortcomings this season, we should win. Barring a few mental gaffes last week against the Niners, we were solid. Not great, but solid. There were two major errors made in special teams that killed us last week, and we cannot allow that to happen again. Though this is the story of our season, we are a better team than our record reflects but stupid mistakes have cost us games, the kind of things where we have made poor judgements on just a couple of plays in a game and it has cost us big. This is the difference between winning and losing, the difference between a contender and a champion. As long as all these guys are learning from their mistakes, though, it is all good, as time and again most of these guys have shown a lot of promise. I would just love to see some of that experience reflecting now in the remaining games.
With the Bills and the Patriots left to play, this game on paper offers the best chance for the fans to see the Dolphins light it up. It is almost unimaginable, with all the troubles the Jets have been experiencing, that they currently reside in 2nd place in the AFC East, but such is the 2012 season.
Tags: chad henne, jacksonville jaguars, miami dolphins, preview, ross barnes, Ryan Tannehill