Has Chad Henne Actually Improved?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Many think the former Dolphin is getting better. Is he really?

One of the themes heard from some quarters entering this game is Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne has improved his game from his time in Miami. Henne has a solid 8-3 touchdown to interception ratio and an 87 quarterback rating. His career totals are 39-40 and 79 so perhaps there is room to believe he has gotten better. A handful of stats do not tell the whole story, however. Is Henne's improvement sustainable?

I am skeptical for a lot of reasons. The first is his completion percentage. It is at a career low 52.5%. In three of the five games where Henne has seen significant action, he has not even completed half his passes. You need to be over 60% to be adequate in the NFL. It's really simple. If you don't complete many of your passes, you can't move the ball and score points.

In particular, he has struggled in the important intermediate game. On passes between 10 and 19 yards, Henne is only connecting on 48% of his throws. This is below his career average. The intermediate game is significant because these represent some of the toughest throws you can make that regularly result in big gains. Hitting passes over 20 yards down the field is tough for every quarterback. Quarterbacks who hit these regularly stick in the league. Those who cannot hit them do not. When watching Henne, I notice many of the same tendencies I saw in Miami. He still forces balls into closed windows. He still misreads coverages. He still throws late.

I also have not been impressed by his pocket presence, and the numbers again back me up here. Over 6% of his dropbacks result in a sack where he has held the ball for longer than 2.5 seconds according to Pro Football Focus. To give some perspective, that is a higher rate of "bad" sacks than Mark Sanchez has and double Peyton Manning at the top of the food chain.

I don't see much substantive improvement from Henne. I see a guy who caught lightning in a bottle a bit, pretty much the guy he was in Miami. He's a solid backup. He's good enough that you can potentially get a few good games from him with some breaks, but he doesn't play with the level of consistency needed to start in this league. I'm not terrified by him.

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