and Henne. That’s what GM Jeff Ireland calls them.
means Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, the present and, maybe, the future at
quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.
time last week, it was a three way battle between Josh McCown, John Beck, and
rookie Henne. No one had really distinguished himself beyond the others, though
Henne was praised for his poise and for his strong arm.
however, the situation was uninspiring and worrisome. Not only was there no
clear winner, there was no viable option at the position.
suddenly, came the unexpected signing of ex-Jet Pennington, who was made expendable
as a result of the Brett Favre trade.
came preseason game #1 against the Bucs, as Mssrs. Beck and Henne took turns
while McCown all but took to a clipboard. Beck was solid, but it was Henne’s
laser shots that once again turned heads.
it’s Penny and Henne getting all the work. Just like that. Such is the strange
and unpredictable world that is the National Football League.
a Dolphin? Preposterous! It’s akin to predicting Thurman Thomas ending his
career as a Dolphin…you’d be a fool to even suggest it could happen.
here he is, wearing a new #10 jersey and showing off his renowned accuracy at
practice, getting the bulk of the snaps as the starter-to-be, with Henne handling
and McCown? Standing on the sidelines, watching the parade pass them by,
wondering just how much longer they are for this team.
all fairness, they got their chance. But the state of the passing game was awful,
to the point where opponents were going to be able to get away with showing an
eight man front. That’s a ridiculous predicament for any professional team to be
in, even a rebuilding one. So it truly is a fortunate happenstance that the
Dolphins were able to get Pennington, without having to give up a single draft
predicted last week, something had to be changed.
let’s not get too carried away. The concerns about Pennington’s arm strength
are real. His ability to hit deep third routes is, shall we say, questionable.
important thing here, though, is that the Dolphins now have a realistic chance
to get back to their winning ways. The offensive line is looking better with
each practice, with the godsend of camp being sixth rounder Donald Thomas at
the starting right guard. Receivers are coming around, with Derek Hagan finally
showing the talent that made him a third round pick in 2006. Runners are
looking good as expected, with one Ricky Williams looking like the Ricky of
old. The defense should be reasonably solid once Vonnie Holliday, Joey Porter,
and Michael Lehan assume their posts.
was needed was a dependable QB. They have that now in Pennington.
keep in mind that “now” and “Pennington” are synonymous.
I emphasize “today” in an oxymoronic way…the future of this team is Henne. He’s
looked good in practice and in an exhibition game facing a vanilla defense.
This doesn’t mean that Beck is history. Remember, this time last year it was Beck
who was heir Marino, tearing into preseason defenses. Those were heady days as
well, before the real games started, before the rude introduction came, as it almost
always does for rookie QBs. In other words, stay tuned.
for McCown, he is all but finished. The only remaining question is “when”. His
potential role, the veteran who minded the store while the young-ins developed,
was completely usurped by Pennington.
head coach Tony Sparano did suggest that the Dolphins could keep four QBs. Perhaps,
but not for the duration. And sure, there’s a chance that it’s Beck who meets
the Turk. But that wouldn’t make sense, not for a highly drafted player who is
still getting better.
again, a good trade offer might come along. Just remember, Bill Parcells is a
value guy and won’t likely part with Beck for a lowball offer.
on the other hand, has no trade value and no upside. For now, the Dolphins will
hang on to him, at least until they are convinced that Pennington will be OK.
it’s getting starting to get late in the hour. Sparano knows it, which is why Pennington’s
arrival was timely. Now they can focus on putting the offense together.
Sparano, “We're kind of out of the hurting people's feelings business right
now. We're getting into the real deal here.”
have three preseason games left and really after today we'll have nine true
practice days left before we get into game week (season opener). We've got to
get people ready to play that we think are going to be headed to the game and
get enough guys work that are on the bubble as we look at it and see guys that
still have a legitimate chance to make this team. There are a lot of guys that
have that chance to make this team. Really, there are very few things that are
set in stone but we got to get guys ready to play."
the QB situation settled goes a long way towards making that possible.