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The dignity and grace of Chad Pennington

There is nothing more divisive in a football locker room than a quarterback controversy. As crippling and pernicious plagues go, only a full-flown player mutiny is worse for a team than an uncertain balance between quarterbacks.

The friction a QB controversy causes affects the offense, defense and coaching staff. It divides fans. It corrodes loyalties at every level.

It's bad, folks.

Which is a reason you should be thrilled Chad Pennington is the Dolphins starting quarterback today.

Having watched Pennington from afar for years while he was with the Jets, it amazed me how he never let the quarterback controversy he operated under his final two seasons in New York affect him in the least. The guy was a pro's pro. 

Pennington never made any secret of the fact he wanted to be the starter. He competed hard but never stepped on anyone's toes, least of all his coaches or the other guys he was competing against. They have a word for that in my country: Classy.

Having escaped the New York drama, now Pennington finds himself in a strange situation in Miami. He is, by any account, the starting QB for the Dolphins as they get ready to begin training camp on Sunday. He is the undisputed leader of the offense. Pennington is the lone voice in any huddle he joins.

And being all those things he is also on the clock and about to be replaced.

The Dolphins plan to play Chad Henne in 2010 and possibly earlier. Those plans are not written in proverbial stone, as many things can happen in 12 months. But almost.

Let's just say the Henne name is scribbled in fast-drying cement for 2010. Team sources speak of a coming quarterback transition. Coach Tony Sparano has already said Henne will get a lot of playing time this preseason to make him as ready as possible, not just for 2010, but more precisely, in case he's needed in 2009.

And then there is the most clear indication the Dolphins are planning that transition you just read about: Pennington, in the final year of his contract, can hit the free agent market in 2010 and the Dolphins so far have done little to change that fact because they don't plan to pay him as a starter.

Tell me what other team has a veteran Pro Bowl-caliber QB entering a contract year? It doesn't happen often in the NFL unless the team has other plans. And the Dolphins clearly have other plans.

That brings me back to Mr. Class. Pennington has not complained about his lame duck status. Given the opportunity to demand a new deal or complain about his status, he has quietly talked about understanding the business nature of the NFL.

He has done all he could in the offseason -- including a rigorous workout regimen -- to make himself the best player possible for 2009 so that Miami's decision to replace him would be a difficult one. Pennington knows if he plays well enough with the Dolphins, he can always jump to another team with a starting opportunity if the Dolphins stick with the Henne plan.

Pennington will be Miami's starter this year but only as long as he plays well and wins. If the Dolphins, saddled with the NFL's toughest schedule, find themselves somehow hopelessly out of the playoff race at some point this season, it's an even bet Henne gets snaps.

If that scenario plays out while Henne continues his improvement, the transition to the younger player might come earlier than anyone might imagine.

And what if it does? You won't hear Pennington complain. You won't hear him make excuses. He will not cause division nor friction within the team. He may not be Henne's best friend, which he is not, but neither will he be a foe.

Chad Pennington will handle the looming quarterback transition much like he has handled his seemingly uncertain contract situation: With dignity. With grace.

Mr. Class.

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Here's the thing, when Pennington is healthy, he has never had a loosin season. The man simply wins games if at the head....Thus, if healthy, Miami does very well this year per Penn's normal results. Of course, he has been injured in man a season. He is a good guy.

I can't wait for at least the pre-season to start so that there's more news than "Pennington is classy". That's been universally known around the league for years.

These guys must have some pretty convincing evidence on Henne. Pennington played great last year. If he plays great again this year, I don't know how you take a chance on an unproven QB over a guy with a QB rating just under 100.


Every player knows and I am sure understands that someday they will be replaced with someone younger. Happens to the best of them. Where is the story here?

Armando

I think this was a good blog. Especially if one considers that you covered just about everything else in your live live blog today.
I like the way Penny handles himself.
He gets booted for Farve. Does he wallow in self pity? No. He signs with the Dolphins. Earns come back player of the year honors, and leads his 1-15 team to one of the biggest turn arounds in NFL history.
Does he then rest on his laurels? No. "He has done all he could in the offseason -- including a rigorous workout regimen -- to make himself the best player possible for 2009"!
What more can you ask? This is my kind of FOOTBALL player!

When you get excited about something, you dont have to drag yourself out of bed to do it. that motivation is natural, when u get excited about an opportunity. its a beautiful thing

Penne has been the model athlete to whom all other pro athletes and common citizens should pattern themselves by.
Then society would be a better place for it!

With that said, it has been mentioned several times about Penne's rigorous off season workouts.
Now that he is 3+ yrs removed from a 2nd serious throwing shoulder injury, I wonder if he has been able to make strides in developing a stronger arm???

We saw some hints of better zip on his passes last year and a better deep ball than he's thrown in previous seasons.

Mando, please lets us know if you see or hear of any real progress in that area during camp.

Thanx

Dear Mr Armdo, how are you? I am fine.
I think you wrote a good one this one. I think you are right. Chad Penngton is good classy guy. DO you wnat to know what I think? DO you think this too?
Mr Armdo, what if CHad Penngton plays good and we are in win playoff game too? And we win too? I think he will still get to be the starter QB next year too. I bet. DO you bet too?
sincerely,
your friend. Juan Huron.
PS to mr cretterdome phins, I don't think Chad Penngton is a model too. I never saw him in model magazeens ever. Have you?

If he stays healthy he will be a starter, on a N.F.L. team for the next 3 years!

I know he wants and deserves starter money but I wish there was some way we could keep him to back up Henne.

I just hope if we do let him go next year, that we at least sign him to a one year deal then trade him. At least we could get a 2nd rounder for him if he has good numbers again.

Good luck getting a helmet for Mr. 96 inch neck....

chad .p the more he keep silent his value goes up and by the end of the season you have 4 teams need him very bad.he's in very strong place.

Used to be a jet fan till they traded Pennington.

When he was with the jets another fan once commented,
"Chad Pennington takes the brunt of the blame for a bad team. Chad has been the victim of a terrible offense, for almost his entire career. The only two pro bowlers he has played with are Kevin Mawae and Curtis Martin. His line has been sub par, for his entire career, the receivers have been average at best, and the jets defense can't get off the field. With that said, it's a wonder that HE GOT US WITHIN A KICK OF THE SUPER BOWL (with a torn rotator cuff!!!)."

Give him a team with an above average offensive line, running game and defense and HE WILL WIN A SUPER BOWL.

Dolphin Fan (until they trade Chad)

Excellent story. Enjoy him while he's here. When he leaves I'll wish the best for him. What will be very interesting is if the team goes 10-6 or 11-5 with this schedule. It's going to be a tough decision. Especially when you consider, all we really know about Henne is his potential. Pennington is not only a class guy, he's a proven leader.

Of course everything you said about Pennington is true and exactly what you want in a QB and team leader. But how many times do we have to hear it? WE KNOW he is a class act. WE KNOW he is a great leader and a good mentor. How about telling us something we DON'T know in your first full post back from vacation? Nonetheless, great write up as usual.

I have to agree w/ Adam. We all know these facts...and frankly it's tough to keep hearing. As much as I want to see Henne begin his career here, I also believe Penni gives us the best chance to succeed. My feeling is that a championship for the Phins(in the short term) is only had with a proven leader. Henne has a long road to be that. Which equals the same for us "long suffering" fans. So it's with mixed feelings that I watch CP slowly move to...a rival team? Sheeeesh!

Stay classy, Miami.

Armando, Pennington is indeed a class act, but what I like more about him is his command of the huddle. He’s an excellent field general, not in the in-your-face Marino style, but because of his knowledge of the game and the opponent. The players around him in the huddle have complete faith in his ability to decipher the defense and get them in the right play.

The down side is his historic fragility… He’s getting a little long in the tooth and a major injury at this point would quite possibly end his career. I can see the Dolphins being reluctant to pay him a starter’s contract after this season because there is just no telling whether he will remain healthy enough to fore fill it.

It is obvious that the phins think Henne makes the Miami offense less predictable. His arm stregth opens up the deep ball and leverages our outside speed, which should leave more room for the short passes and open up the running game a bit.

Obviously, the Baltimore game last year showed that matched against superior defenses, we just did not have all of the tools needed. They were able to concentrate on our strengths and take advantage of our weaknesses.

That being said, the trickiest part in any transition is knowing when to pull the trigger and make the switch.

And finally, as a division rivals, I wake up each day hating all bills, pats and jets players... yet, have never felt that way about CP. Even when with the Jets, I never loathed him like I have loathed every other Jet we have faced. he just oozes class and is humble, self aware and the most objective player I have ever seen when talking about the situations teams keep putting him in.

Odinseye i respect your football mind but you are wrong about the dog thing. To you its ok to hunt shoot and kill wild animal but its not ok to kill a dog. So if he had put the dogs to sleep would you be as outrage! 2 years in prison,lifetime care for remaining dogs and broke! what more do ppl want from him. Hunting or dog fighting you are still harming helpless animals! Pot calling the kettle black! Vick should've paid TAXES!

Mando,
You miss the point that maybe Chad pennington is doing everything he can because he wants to win the superbowl and he thinks this team is good enough to do it. I mean he is getting up there in age and this is a good chance for him to win it all.

Welcome back, Mr. A. I appreciate the reminder that Pennington has control of this team. The video was telling when he was addressing the DEFENSE.

And I also appreciate you are the only local writer with sources that tell them things like the fact there will be a QB transition when other writers are still hesitant on the issue. Good stuff.

Great article thanks!

Armando - you are right on with this one -"Which is a reason you should be thrilled Chad Pennington is the Dolphins starting quarterback today."

But there is another reason I am thrilled that Penne is the Fins QB.

He is one of the best QB's in the game right now, a notion that few Fin fans accept.

Who else would you rather have under center? I can only think of 9 other guys.

P Manning, Eli Manning, Brees, Brady, Warner, Matt Ryan, Rivers, Big Ben, and "maybe" Matt Hasslebeck.

Which means Penne is a top ten QB.

Yet most in Fins land can't wait for Henne. That's too bad.

Although Penne the man is appreciated by all Fin fans, as a player he is not. Not even by you Armando, as you mention nothing in this article about Penne the player.

There's no doubt Chad has a lot of class, and hope Henne may learn something about it from his current mentor.
But let's be clear about his NFL value, he is the greatest of the not-so-great passers. He throws very well on short yardage and surely his style may serve if your defense can carry the load, but when your defense get burned 30+ times per season there's a big need for quick points and Chad has never been competitive on that situation.
That's a fact Pennington is several times better that duck-thrower Beck, and perhaps his arm power deserves a better evaluation of what NY media expressed for years, but there are big chances that Henne may be better on those quick point situations, leading to important wins. That's the biggest difference on both Chads.
The big question is if Henne can be as good leader, as fine on short and medium yardage and as classy as Pennington has been.

M.VICK has no class but he's better than both chads .

Good post. I do believe that both the Chads have had a lot of class handling the situation. Henne was going to start before Penny came in. Last year the coaches said he also had great command in the huddle. Henne had to watch his fellow rookie peers play and be successful while he was learning from the bench problably not much fun when he held all the records at QB at Michigan( which includes names like Brady). So while I admire Penny I also respect the way Henne has handled himself.

M.VICK has no class but he's better than both chads .

Posted by: greg | July 30, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Yeah, better at throwing dogs.

Other QBs I'd rather have than Pennington:

Flacco, Romo, McNabb, Carson Palmer.

Pennington is NOT a top 10 QB as another poster claims.

Welcome back Armandito.

Pennington may be a great guy, but the truth is he is limited in what he can do offensively. Granted, he is very good at what he CAN do, but what he can do is still limited.

Hopefully Henne can take the positives of Pennington and add them to his own skill set and become one of the top QB's in the league.

Pennington may be a nice guy, but being nice doesn't win you Superbowls.

TFK

Welcome back, Armando. We missed ya.

PS: What if Henne gets put in and ends up majorly disappointing?? Will the Dolphins be patient or go back to the drawing board or go back to Chad #1?

willi is talking to himself

I have to admit I have a new found respect for the man. Years of being a fins fan has made me learn to hate this man. However since having him come over to the good side, I like him and what he is all about. Role models are hard to find nowadays but in chad I think he is a good one. I hope he stays on and becomes our qb coach.

Where are we on signing our three remaining picks?!?!?!

Penny would be worth the money even as a backup to Henne next year. I doubt he'd settle for that, but if the Dolphins were able to extend him for another 2 years it would be well worth it. Obviously his injury history is a big concern, but you're letting at least 3 more years of a quality starting QB walk away for nothing. Hope Henne has got the goods.

we pray Henne isn't the bust of all times

Where's the best mind of football on this forum .NJ PHIN FAN.
i only see people talking to themselves or fans need a brain like him to enhance their blog exp.

sure feels good to have a reliable QB again.

Willie Chirino, sorry pal, don,t even try to compare Joe Flacco to Chad P., Romo has brain locks, Palmar will not make it through the year!!! Flacco and Palmer are dogs and Romo is a dog with fleas!!!

Oh nooooo! You're back. Terrible news for us. Will you please wait until Sunday for the butt-whipping to begin again.

We's got a new parner. His names be Mike Bearracoodies. He's know baseball and stuff. He'll eventuals learnt about footballs.

Please don't hurt him too bad.

Bill Parcells speaking to the press in Dallas in 2006 said of Romo, you guys see a prince, I see a frog trying to be a prince!!!

Gopats. what's up bro ? Thanks for the kind words. ADAM S. You're a little late for armando's live blog } He answered the status of the draft picks in yesterday's live blog. Get with the program !

Gpats:

Way to suck up to NJ Phin Fan, although I also respect the guy. However, doesn't change the fact that your team and their coach, Papa Smurf, will still be looking up at the Dolphins in the standings this year.

Great story Armando. If Chad leaves after this season I'll be very sorry to see him go. Mostly because of his work ethic and leadership. His contributions to the team in that area are immeasurable. I was hoping that he would take a back up role at some point, maybe a player/coach type thing and then retire as a player and become an assistant coach for our phins. But then again he could come out this season and have the year of his life and get an extension so who knows. Like you said he could make it very hard on the brass to make a decision regarding Henne/Penny going into 2010. So thank you for the great read and the video was awesome. The only bad thing is you now got me fired up to watch some Dolphins football and it's still July!

Rexryansucks. I also thank you for the kind words. I can't stand the pats /belecheat and i have 1st cousins that live in boston. So you can imagine what i've gone through , but your hatred for the smurf/pats is unmatched on this blog. LOL ! Keep it coming , but living in jersey ( 10 min from Giants/jetsstadium) my hatred for the jests/paper planes is unmatched . If you knew who gopats really is , he woudn't bother you as much.

NJ:

I actually don't have much of a problem with
Gpats, its his team I can't stand and that sawed off little twit who coaches them. I too have hatred for the Bi-planes, who incidentally are one of the biggest jokes for a pro franchise in sports.

Pennington was the right man at the right time for last season. He still is this season.

lol@rexryansucks about the bi-planes. The "person" posting as gopats isn't really a pats fan. He just like busting dolphin fans balls.

While I must admit I have become a very big fan of Pennington, he is everything you have said he is and MORE. In terms of how the football team goes I think it might just be a simple numbers (salary cap)game and that is why we will end up losing him or not resigning him. With an investment made into Henne hopefully this can workout for the Dolphins in a similar fashion that it did with the Chargers.

Then he is an idiot and hardly a true Dolphin fan.

Nj Phin Fan:

As you might well imagine, I respect anyone willing to break another's balls. That aside, I felt better imagining GPats being some 30- something loser, still living at home with his parents and working 20 hrs/week at a 7-11. Oh wait, that describes the majority of Jet fans. Sorry bout that. OK, GPats is cool then.

Rexryansucks . all of the above is correct except for 1 thing. He doesn't work in 7/11. He's a mall cop. The movie paul blart: mall cop was about him.

GetterDone. You're 100% correct.

NJ:

Holy chit!!! Cmon, no way he's a mall cop. LOL. That's even better than the 7--11 thing. LOL.

I agree, kudos to Pennington, but right now let's focus on the task at hand. Like whooping the snot out of Tom Brady. Our QB problem is a good one: two Chads are better than one. I can live with that!!!

I used to think Pennington was a bust, I also thought he got lucky on a lot of passes, I really never liked him because he played for the jets. His press-box accolades never seemed to measure up to what i saw. And then there was last year! I was bummed the day I heard Pennington was coming to miami, and then that all changed! The games are exiting, his throws are extremly accurate, and I realized this guy was playing through injury, just like they said! It wasn't an excuse! Great year Chad! it's no secret that dolphans are craving Ginn to go deep, and as bad as I want to see that strong arm of Henne, I quietly root the offseason has made your arm stronger. Can't wait to see Henne, and simultaneously hoping your deep ball has come around. it really is nice to be excited for both quarterbacks. It was a LONG time comin!

the plumbing in my street is no good.
rex ryan, thinks we need his stamp on people who are not evil like him.


All you Chad P. hater and doubter, keep in mind that there are 1 other players on the team and each player has certain responsibility.And if everybody do their job right then it does not matter if CP arm strenght is not the stongest in the NFL. THAT WHY IT'S CALLED A TEAM SPORT.

Armando, this is real writing, nothing like what that turd cote seems to churn out without even thinking.

One question I have is did Pennington actually increase his arm strength any during the offseson when he was doing all that weight lifting and working out? If so, great. If not ...

Well, nice article.

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