Dolphins GM: Chad Henne still in plans

Updated: January 25, 2011, 10:16 PM ET
Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. -- Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland says Chad Henne remains in the team's plans as a potential starting quarterback, despite a disappointing 2010 season.

The Dolphins will be in the market to acquire a quarterback, Ireland said Tuesday, but he still likes Henne's potential.

"He has all the ability in the world," Ireland said while scouting at the Senior Bowl. "We've just got to put a plan together and an offensive philosophy that fits Chad Henne, and I think we'll do that."

Henne started 14 games last year for a team that finished next to last in the AFC in scoring. He was benched twice, threw 19 interceptions and lost the support of leading receiver Brandon Marshall.

Team owner Stephen Ross has pledged the offense will be more aggressive, creative and exciting in 2011. Ireland said such improvement can be achieved with Henne -- although alternatives will be considered.

"He has shown some aggressive tendencies," Ireland said. "He has shown some exciting throws. The quarterback position is obviously a very important position. We'll evaluate what's out there, like we do every position, in free agency and the draft."

Ireland didn't rule out re-signing quarterbacks Chad Pennington or Tyler Thigpen, who will be free agents this offseason. Pennington, who led Miami to the playoffs in 2008, faces arduous rehabilitation following a fourth operation on his throwing shoulder.

"He has to get healthy, and that's going to be awhile," Ireland said. "So we're not rushing into any decision."

Improving team speed will be a focus, including in the skill areas on offense, Ireland said. But he said there's a chance Miami will bring back Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, both free-agent running backs.

Ireland also said Miami will try to acquire a second-round pick in the April draft after trading that choice to Denver last year for Marshall.

Following a 7-9 season, Ross flirted with hiring Jim Harbaugh as coach. Instead, Tony Sparano will return, and Ireland signed a multiyear contract extension last week.

"It's obviously a vote of confidence from the owner, and that's ultimately the guy you've got to make happy," Ireland said. "We've got some unfinished business here. We really look forward to getting this thing turned in the right direction."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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