Once Again, Chad Pennington is Done For the Season
Now the Miami Dolphins know why the New York Jets couldn't wait to remove Chad Pennington from their Florham Park training facility last summer.
The same man who won his second "Comeback Player of the Year" award last season when he led the Dolphins to an improbable 11-5 year and an AFC Eastern division title is, once again, out for the season.
This time around, it is a torn capsule that will sideline the game's biggest excuse maker, marking the fourth time in 10 years that Pennington will miss considerable time because of an injury.
Talk about broken bones syndrome; at times, it seems like Pennington invented it.
For eight years the Jets waited, waited, waited, and waited for Godot to show up with the keys that would take them to the Lombardi Trophy room, but that never happened.
Instead, all the Jets got was nearly a decade of injury, playbook confusion, and a vanilla offense that was so feckless it would make any fan want to throw a shoe through the TV set.
Images of Pennington waving his rally towel while standing on the sideline with his arms wrapped tighter than a mummy are seared into Jet fan telememories; the vision of Pennington actually completing touchdown passes merely the stuff of perfervid delusions.
Alas, once he showed some moxi in Miami, it had to make Dolphin fans into believers that Pennington could be good enough to take them into the postseason for a second straight year. Nevertheless, they too are left at the altar, wondering and waiting to see what the future has in store for them too.
Sure, Pennington is a "good guy" and "media savy," but those qualities don't buy any team victories in a business fueled by consistently winning games.
Some have pointed to Pennington's statistics as a demonstration of his worthiness on the gridiron: he owns a 66 percent completion rating, and a QB rating of 90. But, the fact is, most of Pennington's passes are less than seven yards. This year alone, he is averaging about five yards per pass.
In eight years with the Jets, and two with the Dolphins, the playbook was drawn to compensate for Pennington's deficiencies as an NFL quarterback, mostly his arm strength.
He lacked the necessary zip to get passes through tight coverage, and the power to loft the ball more than 30 yards down field. Therefore, the only way to keep Pennington successful was short bubble screens and dump off passes to his running backs, full backs, and even tight ends.
Did the years of shoulder damage play a role in Pennington's lack of arm strength? Mostly likely, the answer is yes. Any player who has to go through two rotator cuff surgeries and a surgically repaired hand is going to see most of his athletic ability shrink.
Like his time with the Jets, Pennington will tell the Miami press and fans that he is "sick to his stomach" and that he can't help his teammates win on the field, but the fact remains that he has to be on the field to actually be a leader of men, as one CBS commentator once labeled Pennington a year ago.
What is in store for Pennington's football future? Who knows, but one thing is for certain: his days as a starting quarterback are over. No team can afford to waste their time on banking their entire season on a quarterback who can't stay on the field longer than a handful of games each season.
Therefore, a backup quarterback role is likely in store for Chad. If not that, then maybe the Canadian Football League or the UFL.
In many ways, it is tragic to see this happen to one player. For all of the problems that Pennington has when he takes the field, it is unfortunate for him that he can't catch a break and stay on the field for an extended period of time.
In fact, Pennington made his 19th consecutive start in San Diego on Sunday, which set a career high for him! Now, his career may, indeed, be near its end.
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