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Midseason Shocker: Chad Pennington Named Dolphins Starter As Henne Gets Benched

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Chad  Pennington #10 of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field against the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Danny DolphinAnalyst INovember 25, 2016

In a very surprising move Wednesday afternoon, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has named veteran Chad Pennington the starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game against the Titans.

Chad Henne has been as mediocre as Miami’s 4-4 record and it’s apparent there needed to be some sort of shakeup for an offense that has struggled to put touchdowns on the board.

Henne has completed 63.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and ten interceptions in eight games this season. He has a quarterback rating of 78.2, good for 24th in the NFL.

The 34-year-old Pennington hasn’t played in a regular season game since Week 3 of the 2009 season, when he was knocked out of the Chargers game with a shoulder injury.

Pennington has a career completion rate of 66.1 and is known for his accuracy in the short passing game.

Miami also signed veteran cornerback Al Harris, while cutting former first-round pick Jason Allen.


I can’t say I agree with the move. Unless the Dolphins really think they’re a championship caliber team and mediocre quarterback play is the only thing holding them back, why not see what you have in your young quarterback?

He has played just over a full season and I don’t think that’s enough.

I would have liked to see Henne finish the season so we can get a really clear read on a guy that could be the quarterback of the future. He is not the only one not meeting expectations on this football team. A simple switch at quarterback isn’t going make every problem disappear.

How about adjusting the offensive play calling? The plays have been much more of an issue than the quarterback play. Henne was not put in the best possible situation to succeed and for that I blame coaching.

However, it is apparent Pennington’s skill set — more specifically his short and intermediate accuracy — is better suited for an offense with more possession receivers than speed guys.

Although Pennington is not known for his deep ball, this team doesn’t go deep so that shouldn’t be an issue.

This is a risk because Pennington is simply a band-aid at this point. Benching Henne midway through the season could have a huge negative impact on the quarterback’s mental state moving forward.

If anything I’d rather see third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen get a chance. He’s young, mobile and could be the playmaker under center the Dolphins need.

Maybe they win an extra game or two with Pennington at the helm, but is it really enough to propel this team into the playoffs?

Time will tell.

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