Something new happened after the Miami Dolphins' 20-10 preseason victory over the Carolina Panthers Friday night.
Outspoken (and sometimes diva) wide receiver Brandon Marshall positively gushed about quarterback Chad Henne to the media.
"I love how Chad Henne took over the offense," Marshall told the South FloridaSun-Sentinel.
Dolfans would be forgiven if they are taken aback by that statement.
"He's just done a tremendous job of taking over the huddle. You need that in a quarterback. The talent is there, but the leadership he's shown from the offseason into this camp has been amazing, a huge difference," Marshall continued.
Henne and Marshall might be able to make their relationship work after an up-and-down 2010 which saw Marshall sometimes yell at Henne in frustration on the sidelines and tell the media now-departed backup Tyler Thigpen might do better in the starting quarterback.
But that has all changed, apparently, thanks to improved play from Henne. He played so competently Friday that Marshall couldn't even find a reason to yell at him on the sideline. Instead, during the second half they were spotted by the Sentinel "standing side by side, sharing a lengthy conversation."
Perhaps they were gossiping about their book club or comparing their Chad Pennington impressions. Regardless, Miami fans must be relieved that the two can be in the same room without bickering.
What's the secret to Henne and Marshall's all-of-a-sudden functional relationship? According to Henne, "it's just the communication." As with any other successful relationship, the two are making an effort to be aware of each other's needs so that they could better fulfill them.
In the case of Marshall, those needs comprise mostly of passes thrown his way. In one half of play Friday , Henne completed 15 of 24 passes for 194 yards. 5 of those completions went to Marshall, who was targeted 6 times.
The Dolphins held a 17-0 lead at the half, after which the starters were replaced by backups competing for roster spots. If only every NFL team were as bad as the Carolina Panthers.
"Both of them have done a good job communicating with each other," head coach Tony Sparano told the Sentinel.
But count Sparano among the cautious skeptics regarding his quarterback and star receiver.
"We got a long way to go right now and it went our way last night," he said. "So the real test will come when it doesn't quite go our way."
Indeed, Miami can't play all their games against the Panthers. But at least they get to play Buffalo twice.