Dolphins QB Henne will compete for starting job, Sparano says

Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparanotold the South Florida Sun Sentinel that quarterback Chad Henne will face stiff competition for the starting position entering next season.

Henne's rocky 2010 campaign left the Dolphins questioning what they have at quarterback, but Sparano acknowledges the challenges that come with developing a passer.

"I realize that (with) the quarterback position, everybody wants to have it (happen) yesterday, and that's the problem. It really is, but it comes with the turf," Sparano said. "You have to go back through the 900-and-something snaps that this guy has played and (ask), did he show progress? Did he get better in different areas? Yeah, he did. Now, did he stay the same, or not get better in some areas? Maybe that's true, too.

"Does he deserve the opportunity (to complete for a starting spot)? No question about it. He deserves the opportunity, and we'll see where that goes."

Sparano would like to see Miami's vertical passing game make strides, and Henne's deep ball needs work, according to the coach.

"When you get the green light, you've got to make the plays, and Chad will tell you that," Sparano said.

The Dolphins hold the No. 15 overall pick in April's NFL draft and will stage a private workout with Auburn quarterback Cam Newton this weekend.

At last month's NFL Scouting Combine, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland gave Henne a lukewarm endorsement as the team's de facto starter.

"Right now, he's the guy on our football team we have to be committed to, because he's the only one we have right now, other than Tom Brandstater and (potentially) Tyler Thigpen," Ireland said. "We're committed to him right now, and then after that, we'll see what happens."

Much was made of wide receiver Brandon Marshall's backing of Thigpen over Henne last season, but Sparano downplayed it, saying the quarterback-wideout rift is common in the NFL.

"Who doesn't yell at Henne?" Sparano jokingly said. "Maybe the head coach? And I might look at him funny. But that's part of the position."

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