Today was one of the busiest days in recent memory for the Miami Dolphins. The biggest news of the day came from Coach Tony Sparano’s press conference when he announced that Chad Pennington would take over as the team’s starting quarterback. This move, combined with the release of Jason Allen and signing of Al Harris, is a clear shift in philosophy from what this regime has preached for 3 years. Ireland and Sparano are clearly desperate to make the playoffs this year and thought this change would spark the struggling offense. Make no mistake, this was a desperation move.
Personally, I believe Henne needs more time to develop and I thought he should get the rest of 2010 to prove himself. The coaching staff and general manager didn’t seem to agree. Henne has not played great this year, but the offense as a whole hasn’t helped him much. The running game has struggled and the receivers have dropped a number of passes. Of Henne’s interceptions, how many were the fault of the receivers? More than a couple. Henne quarterbacked the team for what was easily perceived as the more difficult part of the schedule. He should have at least been given another 3-4 games against some “lesser” teams to show what he had.
Having said all of that, I believe Pennington will help the offense. The offense of Dan Henning is designed for accuracy and short passing. Pennington is the more accurate quarterback and is definitely better at play action fakes. I believe he MAY be a better short term improvement. Trust me, I would love nothing more than to see him come in and lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. BUT, what will become of Henne? Whether or not Pennington succeeds is basically irrelevant. Come February, March, April, do the Dolphins need to find another QB of the future? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, which is why this move is puzzling.
I’m a huge Pennington fan. He’s smart with the football and can lead the offense, without a doubt. His arm strength will determine if he can still be successful. To both of their credit, Pennington and Henne both handled the situation with grace and integrity. I wish Pennington the best of luck and hope that we see Henne in the future.