In case you are in the minority and do not subscribe to The Miami Herald, you may have missed the blowout sports front page story on Chad Pennington and his battle against the elements in December's wintry weather venues. So please click here and catch up.
The point of the article is that Pennington was found lacking by the New York Jets after three consecutive years in which he either struggled in December or simply didn't make it to December because of injuries.
In December 2007 Pennington completed 51 of 72 passes (72.9 completion percentage) for 448 yards (224 yards per game). He threw one TD and two INTs. His QB rating was 82.3.
In December 2006 Pennington completed 112 of 168 passes (66.7 completion percentage) for 1,178 yards (236 yards per game). He threw six TDs and five INTs. His QB rating was 86.4.
Pennington played no December games in 2005 because he was injured.
Based on his ability or inability to finish the season and do so with a flurry, the Jets decided to go a different direction this year. And Pennington, now with your Miami Dolphins, has responded with a very good December so far.
In December of 2008 Pennington has completed 35 of 48 passes (72.9 percentage) for 337 yards (168.5 yards per game). He has thrown three TDs and zero INTs. His QB rating is 112.9.
Great stuff in 2008 if Pennington can keep it up. But can he keep it up?
The fact is Pennington's two December games this year have come under hospitable conditions. Miami played its first December game indoors in Toronto and played last week at Dolphin Stadium under partly
sunny cloudy skies.
The next two games? The final two games? The games that will decide Miami's playoff fate?
At Kansas City and at Giants Stadium. Brrrrrr.
But forget the cold, it is the rain, snow, and particularly the wind, that plays havoc with passes in these venues during the winter. If you clicked on my story, you read the Sunday forcast for KC includes 22 MPH winds. That was yesterday's forcast.
It's worse today. Click on this weather report for the sobering update.
So the questions that face Chad Pennington now is can he play up to the standards the next two weeks that he set the past two weeks to put a signature finish on a fine season? Or does he revert to what the Jets saw the past couple of seasons, which is a quarterback who threw as many interceptions as touchdowns in December?
Which do you think it will be?
[Side item 1: Channing Crowder, who missed practice Wednesday with knee stiffness, is back at practice today. He was limited.]
[Side item 2: Hey I got through this entire blog without mentioning arm-strength. Cool.]