By Jeremiah Thermidor
Former Miami quarterback Chad Henne will make his return to Sun Life Stadium this Sunday when the Dolphins take on the Jaguars. The Dolphins parted ways with Henne when he became an unrestricted free agent last off-season. Henne, who is currently Jacksonville’s starting quarterback, was picked up by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2008 draft. He made his first start for Miami in October of 2009, as he took over the job from Chad Pennington who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. He started the first eight games in 2010 before losing the starting job to Pennington. Henne, though, returned shortly after during the very same season as Pennington was lost for the year when he suffered yet another shoulder injury. Henne landed the starting job in 2011 and played in four games before being knocked out for the season with a shoulder injury of his own.
Although he put up some respectable numbers in Miami, Henne will be most remembered as the Dolphins quarterback who threw many costly interceptions and simply couldn’t live up to the high expectations of the fan base. Henne, however, has held on to more positive memories of his time in South Florida and despite the way he was just discarded by the Dolphins, returning to play against his former team apparently means a great deal to him. “There’s definitely going to be some emotions,” Henne said. “They drafted me and I appreciate that, but sometimes things don’t work out and you move on.” Henne has indeed moved on. He played his first game of the season for the Jaguars in Week 11 when quarterback Blaine Gabbert went down with a bruised right elbow. A few days later, Gabbert was placed on injured reserve with injuries to his right forearm and shoulder. Since then, Henne has started under center.
Henne’s number one target on Sunday will certainly be second-year wide out Cecil Shorts who leads the team in receiving yards (824). Shorts has been on a hot streak lately, catching a touchdown pass in four of the last five games. He missed last week’s contest against the Jets with concussion symptoms but will likely return against Miami as he has participated in practice albeit in a limited capacity.
Jacksonville has another young talented receiver on the rise. 22-year-old Justin Blackmon, who was a first round pick by the Jaguars in April, has shown he has the capability to be one of the top receivers in the league for many years to come. His best game this season was versus the Texans when he caught seven passes for 236 yards and a touchdown. Before the matchup against Houston, Blackmon received some criticism for his struggles in not being able to beat press man coverage. But after his performance against the Texans, he definitely proved his doubters wrong.
As for the Dolphins, running backs Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and possibly Lamar Miller could put up big numbers this weekend as the Jaguars have the second worst rushing defense in the league. They’ve allowed an average of 145.7 rushing yards per game and are tied with only the Bills as the two teams which have given up the most touchdowns on the ground this year (18). Jacksonville has the 21st ranked receiving defense this season, which bodes well for Dolphins wide out Brian Hartline who has never reached 1,000 receiving yards in a single season during his four-year career. He’s just 75 yards from that milestone, and he can certainly pull it off this weekend, considering he’s averaged 71.2 receiving yards per game this year.
The Miami Dolphins (5-8) will play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. You can watch full coverage of the game right here on CBS 4.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.