Miami Dolphins: Taking a Look at What QB Chad Pennington Brings To the Table
Chad, Chad he's our man, if he can't do it no one... can?
Forgive me if that catchphrase doesn't rhyme, but following all the negativity that has been summoned by the Miami Dolphins' recent quarterback decision, it is tough to find light in this seemingly devastating situation.
Throughout the NFL regular season, teams are normally linked with positive and negative descriptions. For example, the New England Patriots are often called "The Brady Bunch" due to the starting quarterback that stands tall in Foxboro, while the New York Giants are normally accustomed to some kind of blue related nickname, due to the team's classic color scheme.
However, when it comes to describing faithful fans, the Miami Dolphins' loyal customers could be listed as nothing less than drama queens midway into the year, following the controversial news surrounding quarterbacks Chad Henne and Chad Pennington.
When one of us receives a text message stating "Can you stop by please?", this question could refer to a number of things. Perhaps a breakup, an awkward favor, or worse yet, the 80 year old granny next door who is still struggling to open the simplest bottle of ketchup, even though Heinz has made it as easy as 1,2,3.
No, in the Miami Dolphins' case, Tunatown doesn't leave anything to the imagination.
And what do I mean by that?
Simply put, these were the exact words that head coach Tony Sparano sent to back up quarterback Chad Pennington yesterday, in a Brad Childress-like plea to convince No. 10 to start for his team in Week 10.
Maybe if you are new to the Dolphins' latest woes, this breaking headline may come across as a little ludicrous. Last season Chad Henne had a breakout year under center, throwing for 2,878 yards, 12 touchdowns and an unfortunate 14 interceptions.
To add the icing on the cake, Chad Henne had also convincingly won over the starting role in Miami. Sure, Henne's interception ratio could be stepped down a peg, but in comparison to the Dolphins' quarterback situation in years past, the Henne train was a breath of fresh air, the size of Lebron James' ego in a Heat jersey.
For all of those Generation Y readers out there, what did Chad Pennington reply to Tony Sparano's text message?
Until we hear from some kind of TMZ-like source, it is unknown. That being said, Pennington did briefly state that Tony Sparano's use of the word "please" led him to believe that something was up with his current team.
What is "up" with the Miami Dolphins though, is a down and out 4-4 record in the AFC East. Prior to Week 9 the Dolphins were on the straight and narrow sitting at 4-3, seeing as though the Dolphins were undefeated when traveling to road stadiums.
Maybe I somehow cursed it by picking the Dolphins to topple the Ravens this past weekend, but Miami's previously unbeaten road record is now done and dusted, just like Chad Henne's starting career under center.
So how does Tony Sparano solve a problem like Chad Henne?
Replace him with a quarterback who has the exact same first name, along with attempting to revamp the Dolphins' entire offense by providing a potential spark from the most key position on the entire team.
"They both have strengths, and certainly weaknesses," Tony Sparano stated following his decision, "At this particular time, my decision is Chad Pennington's strengths might be suited a little bit more for where we need to be."
Where the Miami Dolphins need to be, is on the back end of a win this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. 4-4 on the season is a favorable record ten weeks into the year, but at the same time it is also walking the very fine line between collapse and success that so many franchises have attempted to balance in recent times.
Now that Tony Sparano's decision is locked in, it is time to discuss what Chad Pennington brings to the roundtable in Miami, as the veteran quarterback looks to balance the pendulum between winning and losing in a season that was deemed by many to be of playoff caliber.
Poor play is one thing, but when a team's quarterback is sweating under the pressure of a season on the line, the whole scenario becomes that much more intense for the head coach and the overall team roster.
Luckily, Chad Pennington will put on the Superman cape when he returns, bringing with him 11 seasons of experience that have seen both the highs and lows (and trust me there are plenty of lows).
This type of experience should benefit the Dolphins' issues immensely. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been on the verge of breaking out this year, but hasn't quite jumped that final hurdle to 2010 greatness.
I'm not saying Chad Pennington will help achieve that, but experience counts for a lot. Now that a player steps in who has a bundle of experience with losing teams, the Dolphins realistically give themselves the best shot at a turnaround.
2. Chad Pennington Knows the AFC East
When you haven't stepped out of the AFC East for eleven years, you pretty much know the ins and outs of a division that is always hotly contested.
If you're new to the NFL, perhaps you are unaware that Chad Pennington spent most of his lengthy career with the Dolphins rivals--the New York Jets.
This is a factor that helps the Dolphins immensely. In Week 14 the Jets will travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in their second installment of this AFC East clash. Now that a quarterback steps in with some experience and knowledge of the Jets' gameplan, the Dolphins should have a small advantage.
3. Chad Pennington's Rushing Ability
It may not be the most renowned asset of Pennington's game, but believe it or not No. 10 can rush the ball at any give opportunity.
Perhaps given Pennington's age though, running the ball won't become a huge factor in his return to the starting role. Still, the new quarterback does have 465 career rush yards to his name, not to mention seven overall rushing touchdowns.
Chances are the run game will be left up to Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in the future, but if Tony Sparano feels like mixing up the Wildcat, Pennington should be as good as gold.
Interceptions are part of the game for any NFL quarterback, but even if you've only experienced Chad Pennington's throwing woes on Madden, odds are that you've noticed he does have a tendency to throw a few awkward looking balls from time to time.
Chad has thrown 64 career interceptions. This is no Brett Favre record by any stretch, but it is a factor that will come into play, especially when Pennington looks to step back into the limelight after 12-plus months off.
2. Lack of Team Chemistry
I basically just mentioned it, but Chad Pennington has had a long layoff away from football. Eleven years of experience count for a lot in the NFL, but due to the fact that the Dolphins' team has changed immensely in recent years, Pennington may have a few struggles in the early stages this weekend.
It's an issue that Tony Sparano has no doubt taken into account, and there will obviously be some kinks to iron out. How big those kinks are though, will be determined very shortly.
3. Brandon Marshall
The Dolphins' diva receiver has been notably quiet in 2010, and respectfully so on his best behavior in a new look outfit.
However, all of this quiet talk has me a little concerned, considering that Brandon Marshall now has a prime opportunity to act out of line if things don't go his way early on with Chad Pennington stepping in.
In 2010 Marshall has racked up 618 receiving yards and only one touchdown. These statistics are poor in comparison to the league's elite receivers, and now Marshall may take even more of a direct hit with a new quarterback stepping in.
We'll wait and see how this matchup pans out, but if you're a Dolphins fan, you can't help but feel a little concerned looking ahead.
How Will Chad Pennington Fare?
Quite well. Chad Pennnington is a true class act, and like him or not, the guy has pure talent oozing from his fingertips eleven years down the track.
With this in mind though, the Dolphins aren't the easiest team to cope with. As mentioned, a 4-4 record can be turned around, however a lot has to happen between now and Week 17 if Miami wants a playoff spot.
Outplaying the New England Patriots and New York Jets is tough enough. Doing it with a brand new quarterback midway through the year is even tougher.
Chad Pennington has the experience, the talent, and skill set, but if he is to succeed, he must excel quickly under center.
Text messages, phone calls or telegrams--They don't matter. Chad Pennington can expect a lot more than just hate mail if this midseason move falls through the roof quickly in Tunatown. Wish him the best, ol' No. 10 is in for quite a ride no doubt.
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Ryan Cook is an Australian Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports.
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