August 04, 2011
Miami Dolphins fans who chanted "We want Orton" at a recent practice make head coach Tony Sparano sick -- sick, I tell ya.
Incumbent quarterback Chad Henne(notes) threw a few errant balls during a Wednesday practice and that led to fans booing and eventually to a chant for the Denver Broncos quarterback that has been linked to the Dolphins in trade rumors. Sparano did not much care for said catcalls.
"It really makes me sick," Sparano said to reporters. "When people come to the stadium like that in one of those kind of events to support the Miami Dolphins, that's what we should be thinking about."
The event he's referring to was a free open practice at the team's stadium that was scheduled as a "goodwill gesture" to fans following the NFL lockout. (Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you Miami Dolphins for showing the compassion to allow fans the grand privilege of watching a team that's made the playoffs once since 2001 go through drills on a hot August evening! How would the good folks of Miami possibly have spent a summer evening without this most generous offer?)
Sparano can be upset about the chant and may be using the opportunity to throw his support behind his embattled quarterback. That's fine. If he's actually mad, though, it can't be because fans got in free for an event that was only necessary because players and owners couldn't settle their differences in a timely manner.
Henne has every right to be upset by the reaction.
"I'm human," he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Deep down inside it does hurt."
OK, maybe not that upset.
Besides the fact that Henne threw 19 interceptions last season and got benched for Chad Pennington(notes), why would Dolphins fans think he was inadequate for the starting role? Let's go back to Sparano discussing Henne's future in March:
"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 compete for a starting spot], no question about it. He deserves the opportunity and we'll see where that goes."
That's what we in the biz like to call a ringing endorsement.
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