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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Henne No. 1 for Fins, but then who?


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano made an unnecessary public avowal Tuesday morning.

Chad Henne will be his quarterback in 2010.

Pat White
Miami drafted Pat White in the second round in 2009, but he didn't complete a pass last season.
But what about the rest of the depth chart?

The Dolphins have one of the league's more intriguing quarterback rosters.

They re-signed veteran Chad Pennington, who's recovering from reconstructive surgery on his throwing shoulder. They also have backups Tyler Thigpen, whom they traded for last year, and Pat White, a spidery sophomore they drafted in the second round.

Sparano did say Pennington is Miami's third quarterback -- for now. Sparano wouldn't slot the other two for us, but it's not difficult to see White is on the bottom.

"I'm not going to reveal my hand, but we do have four quarterbacks," Sparano said. "I feel like we have four good quarterbacks right now.

"We need to go into spring and see who does what. There's been a lot of balls thrown from the time the season ended until now. You can't imagine the number of passes that were thrown out there by some of these young players. Some of these guys literally took a week, 10 days off before they started back into this process. So we have to see how far those players have come. And the spring is when we see it."

The Dolphins drafted White out of West Virginia because of his scrambling abilities more than his arm. They envisioned him as a weapon to complement their Wildcat offense, a runner who can throw to keep defenses honest.

White hasn't shown he can be an NFL passer. White got into 13 games with disappointing results. He completed none of his five pass attempts and was sacked once. He ran 21 times for 89 yards.

White's season ended when Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor knocked him cold on a sideline hit in the finale.

Sparano said he considers White and Thigpen to have the same skill set as running quarterbacks. Thigpen, however, has a decided edge in experience and presence. Thigpen, a seventh-round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina in 2007, started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs two seasons ago.

"My biggest concern with Pat, and it always has been, is completely understanding our offense, understanding all that there is to understand," Sparano said. "He's a young kid who digested an awful lot of information last year very well.

"I saw growth from season's start to season's end with what Pat can handle from the offensive standpoint. At the end of the year there were no restrictions. He was able to handle it all mentally that way. And I've seen growth from a fundamental standpoint out on the practice field.

"Now, at the end of the day, with the competition out there, whether it's going to be good enough or not, that really isn’t up to me. It's going to be up to those players."