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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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Cubano:

What you refer to as plumbing on your street is actually an open ditch that runs from the straw shack that you live in directly to the street. Now get down to the welfare office before they close. It's the end of the month and your Social Services check is in. Peace.

NJ, are you trying to slander my good name by implying iam gopats?????I AM PAUL BLART.......MALL COP!!!!!!!

rex is dirty azzzzzzz

NJ, are you trying to slander my good name by implying iam the cuban menace ??????
the plumber lives

By the way NJ, the toilet next to the foot lockers clogged can you come over to ,, to ,, well what is it you do plumb?? can you come over and plumb????thanks you the man.............PAUL BLART, MALL COP

No Offence Gopats...

NJ, By the way, do you have a picture of joe hasselbeck??? aka "joe the plumber"above your fire place??

My my poor gopats,

What's up? I am back.

i love to see ace around, when he talks to himself ,he's at his best

we need live chat with cuban and nj .ace can come as an a chick

i am going to by a new mattress for my ex after trying my mattress .
i think she's going to cook a duk for me this weekend w/ fried sweet potatoes and fried spicy red beans

That pumped me up. I am pumped and ready to go. Pennington for president. It was a great season belonging to a great leader and obviously well respected teammate. Colour me a Pennington fan for life.
He could be a hockey player with that attitude.

FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT CHAD IS PROVEN TO LEAD THE DOLPHINS IN TO THE POST SEASON. THE QUESTION THAT IS EVERYONE'S EYES ARE CAN HE TAKE MIAMI PASS THE WILDCARD SPOT AND DEEP INTO JANUARY. THIS SEASON IS CHAD LAST CHANCE TO PROVE ONCE IN FOR ALL THAT.

I watched CHADS video and saw GINN.

After watching GINN's video I see alot of talent. This is the year he puts it together.

Next year he and CHAD will start somthing magic.

I always liked PENNINGTON but more so because he seems like a nice guy more than anything else. I feel that he's very limited in what he can do. However he makes great decisions with the ball. Our schedual this year looks pretty easy and I think that we match up well against any team.

gopats,aloco, kara,

The evil is always one step ahead of you. Damn, I feel like I am talking to one person

Miami fans should be ready for some set backs if they happen. Transitioning from the easiest schedule to the toughest is hard on a young team. Granted some good players have been developing and new ones await their chance. No real suprises with the new offense - some wrinkles maybe, but nothing as drastic as 2008. It's going to be a tough season and shows the dolphins and us fans just how much we have grown in just over a year.

i have a question about the QB position, when you guys think henne will start this year ? it's very important to see what this guy will before end of the season.i like to know how many games he really needs to tell the real story about his skills and if he can win with flying colors.

GOPATS: He STARTED from day one everywhere he went not only that but made his teams better. Not at all saying he will do the same in the pros but we must sit and wait.

BRADY: Is the one you should worry about. With a suspect running game and with our better pass rush your patsies might be in a fight of their life for that top seed. The FINS closed that HUGE gap and POISED for a big year.
People talk about last years schedual like the FINS weren't BAD the year before. There isn't one team we played with a worst record than we had the previous year.

We went 11-5 and that's not by a GIMMICK that you run 5 times a game.

FACE IT PEOPLE WE"ER NOT THE LAUGHING STOCK NO MORE. IF we don't hit 11 WINS again it's a let down. Even not winning THE AFC EAST CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE.

SORRY I NEVER SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO TO US BUT WHAT WE CAN DO TO YOU.

Justin, you very wright about the fins this, you can feel there's no way for any team to come to florida and get a win with this group of players where every thing is about the team and no thing else.i put this way;

1-15 team is like ACE...selfish , dumb and overated.
11-5 team like nj phin.....balanced,smart and a smart.

as for henne ,he must start b/c team can't wait any more to see the end results from sitting on side line for 3 years.

brady will be scared in the first few games, he's human to be afraid from contact .

can any one tell me what's the big deal D.Ortiz used inhanced drugs in 2003 ?

it's used more in football than baseball.both are not really sport .

Why aren't P White or V Davis signed yet.....?

Nobody is more observing then gopats. He's wise beyond his years.

Penny never ceases to amaze me with his ability to keep coming back -- I don't see the Penny / Henne thing so much as a competition, but more of an exchange. Penny is going to need Henne to come in and give him some relief. Henne needs to learn patience & poise, one down at a time, I think he needs to slow everything down, or else he may turn into an INT factory. If the two can interchangeably and effectively run the QB position, while also managing the game, Miami will be the most dynamic football team in the NFL, and possibly the best.

I amsorry for all the insults I ahve caused you guys. truly sorry

Dear formerjetfan,
A NYJ season ticket holder but I divorced the Jets on the morning of 8/7/08 when I woke up to hear the news that Chad would be released. I'm so happy to find another person who feels the same way, and I will also be a Dolphin fan as long as Chad P. is there. He is the best both on and off the field. GO CHAD!!!

nice posting. very good work. thank you. :)

bathmate

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