Welcome to my 30 for 30 NFL Preview Event! I will be submitting a blog a day for the next 30 days as we get ready for the 2010 NFL Season. I will be beginning with the Dolphins, previewing a different position on the team each day, starting with the quarterbacks.
(One quick note: Many of these were written last month before training camp began)
Everyone who watches the game knows that QB is the most important position in football. It isn’t a coincidence that Miami had zero stability at the position in the last 10 years while posting the worst decade in franchise history. The franchise was haunted by Dan Marino, the man who led them under center for 17 seasons.
From 2004-2009, the Dolphins used a second-round pick in some capacity every year on a quarterback. Most results varied from bad to downright putrid. AJ Feely and Daunte Culpepper, who resembled his Vikings form about as close as Mel Gibson resembles Gandhi, were acquired via trade of two wasted picks. John Beck, Chad Henne and Pat White were drafted by Miami, although Beck was cut after throwing one touchdown pass in his rookie season.
Henne and White are still on the roster, and it looks like the former may finally be the man to fill Marino’s shoes. He has the tools to be the best signal caller in South Beach since number 13 retired. He took over halfway through a week three loss to The Chargers last season, and had some amazing moments; including fourth quarter game-winning drives against the Jets and the Patriots. Although they were mixed in with a healthy portion of head scratching decisions, they were enough to give fans enthusiasm about the position, something that has lacked since the late 90s.
On the bench, Chad Pennington is a perfect backup to a young gunslinger. Although he isn’t the most physically gifted quarterback in the league, he may be the most intelligent. He resurrected his career in 2008, when he signed with Miami days after the Jets released him. He finished runner up to the league MVP award and led the Dolphins to the playoffs. Although his season ending shoulder injury last year is a cause for concern, he should be serviceable if disaster strikes and Henne goes down.
Pat White was a rookie in 2009 to fit the Dolphin’s “Wildcat” offensive scheme. While he has the athleticism to fill that role, he does not look to have the intangibles to make a significant contribution in the NFL. I remember covering my eyes and praying whenever he stepped on the field last season, and that can never be a good thing. His season consisted of about three positive plays and ended with a career threatening injury that fans were waiting to happen all year long. Right now, he should be concentrating on living until the age of 30, never mind playing for the Dolphins.
Tyler Thigpen rounds out the quartet as the team enters camp. He started with some success in Kansas City, so when Miami traded for him after Pennington’s injury, I had some optimism. The team made a strong playoff push, so Thigpens’ services were not needed until the second half of the season ender. He put together a solid half of football and almost brought the Dolphins back against a tough Steelers defense, but that will likely be his high mark as a Phin. If he makes the team in camp, he’ll be a third stringer at best.
Stay tuned for tomorrow when I preview the running backs.