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A look at the Dolphins' curious QB situation

The Dolphins quarterback spot puzzles me a little bit.

Think about it: The team has a Pro Bowl caliber veteran in Chad Pennington that is unsigned beyond this year and no effort has been made to get the guy a new contract.

Well, that makes sense because the Dolphins want to transfer to Chad Henne by next season, you might say.

Problem is Henne is terribly unproven and even as he's had more work this offseason and preseason than any other QB on the team, he's been sometimes good (versus Carolina) sometimes bad (versus Tampa Bay), sometimes somewhere in between (versus Jacksonville). There's a word for that: Inconsistent.

The Tampa game in which Henne had a 16.1 quarterback rating was eye-opening. And coach Tony Sparano believes much of the problem is on Henne.

“Well, I mean, if you overthrow a ball, I think it’s on you, you know, as a quarterback," Sparano said. "No way around that. There were maybe one or two read things I think that could have been done differently, and then there was some other help, you know. So, meaning: other guys not doing maybe what they should be doing on a play that, that the quarterback takes either the fault for or gets credit for, one way or the other. So, I would say that in that game, you know, Chad was responsible for some of that, and some of the other people were. I mean, that’s an honest answer.”

As to Pat White, well, don't even get me started on Pat White. White is simply not an NFL game-caliber QB right now. He has trouble getting the center snap, he has trouble exploding on his drop back, he's thinking too much about his footwork -- whether it's a three or five-step drop. And we haven't even started to discuss him recognizing coverages, setting up protections and then, finally, throwing an accurate pass downfield.

Let me put it this way: If the Dolphins suffer injuries to their No. 1 and No. 2 QB in the regular-season opener that would force them to play another QB in week 2, they would have to sign a veteran QB and that guy, after one week, would have as much a chance of succeeding as White in the next game.

I am not saying Pat White is a bust, so don't put words in my mouth. I am not saying Pat White cannot improve. I'm simply making the point that Pat White has a looooong way to go and much work to do.

That is the reason the Dolphins have been reticent about using White in the wildcat package. They're so busy trying to bring him up to speed on being able to play quarterback in the base offense, they don't want to overload him with extra stuff.

So where does this leave us?

It leaves the Dolphins in the very good hands of Chad Pennington. It leaves the Dolphins hoping Pennington stays healthy. It leaves them needing to do more things -- in practice and perhaps even in regular-season games -- to get Henne to play.

It leaves the grand plans for WildPat on the shelf for the time being. Oh, the Dolphins will use Wildcat, no doubt about that. But Ronnie Brown remains the triggerman for that package right now, with two weeks left before the start of the regular season.


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It leaves the grand plans for WildPat on the shelf for the time being. Oh, the Dolphins will use Wildcat, no doubt about that. But Ronnie Brown remains the triggerman for that package right now, with two weeks left before the start of the regular season.

What does White's performance playing as a standard drop back QB have to do with the Wild Pat, where White would be back in his familiar shotgun shoot or scoot role?

The only questions concerning the Wild Pat is whether White can pass better than Brown and run and catch at least as well as Ricky.

The answers are very likely yes.

Now there's an article! Good stuff ... As for Pat White, if Tyler Thigpen eventually figured out how to perform like an NFL quarterback, so can White.


So where does it leave us?

With an excellent analysis that should make the point to everyone the Dolphins should re-sign Chad Pennington.

Consistency comes with experience, something Henne has little of. Only time will tell, and we probably don't need to rush that time forward.

Don't you think the door is wide open for Chad Pennington to return next season if he has a similar season to 2008 this year? I certainly do.

If Pennington does not perform well the year or goes down with a possible career ending injury then the Dolphins are not on the hook for any part of the salary regardless of a salary cap or not.

mat ryan had no experience and he's just great.how much you need to sit on the side line eating snacks to be ready ? the problem is that henne doesn't have and btw the jets QB has no experience either.

Are you serious Mando? Ther isn't a team in the league that has a 3rd string QB that could come in and win ball games right away? This makes the Dolphins situation worse than the 31 other teams????. There's only a couple of teams that could win with their back-up QB. Give me a break Mando....write something worth reading.

Sounds like we wasted a second rd pick on White. Call me crazy but i feel like ur top two picks should be able to contribute something right off the bat.

If any team lost their top 2 QB's, they'd be trying to find another QB that may be better than their 3rd QB. I would highly doubt that we won't see Pat White running spread & wildcat-type plays early in the season. I've never been a Henne fan, but it's way too early to pass judgement. Pat White will make dynamic plays. Henne played well in the regular season game against Arizona. Teams don't truly know what they have in young QB's until they're in real games playing with & against 1st teamers. What I do know is that Henne can throw the ball with velocity and some accuracy. That's not enough to be a great QB though... We don't know if he has the other intagibles.

Agree wholeheartedly with mike and bart... this article is waste of space. Armando... stop with the fearmongering, please.

Sparano said at the beginning of camp that no one would see any Wildcat packages featuring White until the regular season started. So how can you use the fact that we haven't seen any as the basis for an assumption that White can't run the Wildcat yet?

Do you have a source that's telling you this, or are you just making a faulty assumption?

It's extremely clear that White isn't ready to run the base offense. And it's clear that Henne isn't ready for the whole playbook yet, though he looks pretty solid when they limit the package for him.


i thought mando did a good expalining that since white is having trouble in the base offense, why over-load him with the wildcat stuff. re-read, its in there.

saw the same thing with henne. feild conditions aside, he needs more real time work. i would agree that signing Penny for another year would be wise & get ronnie's situation under contract now as well.

just get 'er done

I dont think Pat White would have much of a problem running a spread option offense like the Patriots run. The hardships he's been having have to do with being a traditional dropback passer, something he wasn't in college and wasn't in the game film they looked at before they drafted him.

If the two QBs get hurt and the coaches make it hard by insisting that he line up under center instead of using his talents at what he does best then that's on the coaches. I bet Belichick wouldn't even be thinking of going with a just signed QB over White in that situation.

A veritable cornucopia of negativity today from Mando---back to his old, pre-2008 season ways, I see. We are doomed, Henne & Pat White blow. Long can't handle elite speed. Ginn's a thumb-sucker. Woe unto us.

good job explaining.....sorry

good article mando! henne was made the heir to the throne before he won the job. why? we don't know if he can play. i watched him every practice in camp and he was terrible!!! looks like we got another john beck!(WASTED PICK) sign pennington to a new 2 year deal please!

BTW, watched the Colts on Saturday. Manning was scary good in the lil time he played. Hope the safties are ready for him. that man can humm the ball & is deadly accurate.

A couple weeks ago Sparano said in an interview that when they are talking about Wildcat that means what we did last season but that the offense that Pat White would be running should be called "the spread." I actually think that might have been a slip on his part.

So it sounds to me like we are going to be doing the Wildcat just like last year with the base office players rearranged but that we will be bringing White in to run a whole different package (best guess is something similar to what he did at WV).

If you were running the team would you be showing that new package off during practices that were open to reporters?

My best guess is that teams are going to be spending time this year figureing out how to defense the base O, last year's Wildcat and something else. Exactly what that last is we will find out.

on the qb situation they might draft another one in next drafty i think there is a couple worth looking at ....but i am sure tuna and company got a plan A and a plan B.....but on a different subject so long to a class act player from the patriots defense in one Tedy Bruschi decides to retire after 13 seasons of torment to the dolphins so long Tedy ..... thank you !(i could taste the vomit in the back of my throat saying that)

Did you not tell us a few weeks ago that the plan with Henne this season was to give him a couple of series each game before half-time and then 1 or 2 after half-time so that he could get used to making the half-time adjustments?
Just relax.

yeah and i think i see the solution to our hurt(feelings)lb in matt roth we can trade him to the texans that jus lost cato june for the season...jus a suggestion

Very good analysis.

It's the pre-season, don't worry be happy. My guess is even the great Dan Marino probably had some bad pre-seasons. Chill

Mando, I read for several months you talking about the Dolphins employing the spread offense with Pat White. Has that been scrubbed too?

I'm not concerned about Henne's abilities and neither is Chad Henne or his agent.
I am concerned that Dolphin's starting offense, led by certain hall of famer Chad Pennington, could not even muster a first down against TB until there were under 2 minutes left in the half.
The team won 11 games last year. Penny was the qb. He deserves to start. But let's remember that after the first 2 regular season games last year we were 0-2 and had no offense. That was when out of desperation the fins broke out the wildcard. Yeah penny can get the ball to the receiver when the db falls down and there is no coverage. But when does he throw it to a covered receiver and let the receiver make a play?

I think Armando is making excellent points about our quarterback situation. Why just let Pennington walk when the other guys haven't proven a thing?

By the way, Refute this, Suckaz is my dad but he's been showing signs of senility lately. Been falling a lot on his head and been eating his own poop, also


answer is he never throws to a covered receiver, that would be pretty dumb.

i have noticed his increased arm strength. henne under-threw a few even with his cannon. for penny, i think its just not his style to be a gunslinger like p. manning or farve. just a different kind of pass.

penny didn't have any trouble throwing 50 yrds to Hartline, now did he?

(Homer Simpson voice): mmmmmmmmmm...........own poop,,,,,,,,,head hurtz

I think they need to extend penny a year. Henne needs at least another year to get ready for nfl

There is absolutely nothing curious about Miami's quarterback situation .Seems rock solid to me .Keep digging Mando , you'll find something.

Ever tried a pair of "rose colored" glasses , you know for a change ? I'm just sayin !

this preseason has not been a fair indicator of what Henne is capable of. the elements have been more conducive for a running game rather than passing. and lets not forget that he's not getting much help from the WR corp.

I don't agree about WildPat being on the back of the stove. BTW, IF any team loses its #1 and #2 to injury they will stink no matter the team. Year is over.

"i have noticed his increased arm strength."
LMAO@ Harricane


Tell me one team in the NFL that wouldn't be in trouble IF their #1 AND #2 went down! Or, name one contender that wouldn't suffer IF their #1 went down? Shame on the editor for not kicking this back to you.

Just come out from the top & say you have no confidence in Pat White! Trash the Big-Three for picking him so soon while we still have nothing better than a #3 WR.

Do you know what they were saying in Boston during August 2008? "If Brady went down The Pats have no viable backup." This came after watching all of his backups perform horribly during preseason games.

The thing is the only way to test Henne is in real games.And I don't want to sit Chad and lose games. We also need to give Chad a new contract and keep him, they have no problem spending money on bum's who can't play i.e. Wilford, Green etc. And it's the Dolphins fault with the Patty White thing , always calling him a quartback. He is and never will be a NFL QB.

Chad Pennington will be featured on NFL NETWORK tonight.

Cutler looked great last night, that's a NFL Quarterback. Cane"s suck, you will never win with that coach and QB. GO GATOR's !!!

Todd mcshay: u are a million percent right. Mando: may be the worst article u have ever written. I love our qb situation like I haven't since Marino and even then I didn't like our backups. I don't believe we should try to keep Chad pennington. I think next year we should get Sam Bradford (I wish) or some other qb and trade for Chad Johnson (I know the bengals won't pay him). Getting back to the article, how horrible to trash ur three qb!!!! I love getting him in the second round, he offers so much for the wildcat, which we didn't use enough last year, afraid of it being overused. It's been a year and 16 teams have copied it, it can't be stopped, no one does it like us. As bill parcells said before draft day(listen up children) 'THE WILDCAT WILL NEVER BE TRULY EFFECTIVE UNTIL WE PUT SOMEONE BACK THERE THAT IS A THREAT TO THROW THE BALL' .

"Don't even get me started on Pat White, because I have no idea what I'm talking about...."

Must re-sign Pennington...Henne is at least another year away if not longer from being a QB...And if he takes too long to develop, Pat White will leap frog him in two years from now.

This is a horrible "article". Every city has a "reporter" who thinks they are qualified to judge personnel decisions. Mando is Miami's "reporter".

"Don't get me started on White" is not a line a reporter should be using...blog or not.

Spot on in regard to the qb situation.

Time for the Fins to do some POACHING!!!!

Mando, did Sparano share with you the things they are doing when practice is closed to the media? How much of the Wildcat did you know about before they unleashed it last year? I thought so... Although I agree the quarter back situation with Penny is interesting and I'm not sold on Henne, you reached too much into the negative dribble when you decided you know what the team plans for White and the offense. I like it that they keep their options closed to the vest and that you have to manufacture interest by egging the negative fan on... can't wait for the regular season and some good things being reproted. To all those including Mando that keep saying who, what the Fins should have drafted and done, it didn't happen, they had more success then anyone imagined last year and will this year without your input..Watch them, cheer them...have fun!

Excellent stuff. I think White has much work to do and the balance you draw between saying he needs work while not saying he's an out and out bust is a sign of experience and good work.

I would think a nifty reporter like you mando would report more facts the backup opinions.
Fact: Henne hasn't gotten a fair shot at playing with the first team in a game. How do you expect him to have the same results as Penny! Penny couldn't buy a first down on Thurs. I think it's time to realize we need to lend some support to all the QB's.not just the starter, who dosen't always look to much like a veteran QB.

Let see who else can we kick...

Turner is a bust
Vontae is a bust
Solai is a bust
White is a bust
Moses is a bust
Wake is a bust
Armstrong is a bust.... see is i keep naming names I'm sure to get someone right... hahahahah

to 7teks and coach joe, you better stop ripping on Armando. He is very good at what he does and we are lucky to have him. Dont ruin it for us you couple of morons.

Lets find some others we can kick and create negative hype about:

Turner is a bust
Solai is a bust
White is bust
Vontae is a bust
Wake is a bust
Armstong is a bust...(yeah!)if we just keep naming people we will get at least a few right by the time the roster is done...hahahahahah

Wait i forgot from Mando's previous blog entry..Jake Long is a bust in year two...oh no!

I'm getting really tired on the Chad henne bashing. Stop being so stupid and fickle dolphins fans! He will get better, this is just preseason, when he starts a game during the year and blows it up, and u guys jump on his wagon again, I hope he walks away with a finger (guess) at all of you.

I hear you Mandao - but think of this. What NFL team has a better "set" of QBs? NE, NYJ, Indy... I think not. Certainly there are starters out there you would trade even up for if offered, but their depth charts are not as good - I believe the point of your blog.

Why do the Dolphins always find ways to waste picks on QB's. Pat White please. I'll continue to watch the careers of Clinton Sintom-LB and Derrick Williams-WR and by the way Williams lined-up at WR, RB and QB at Penn State. Both would have been far and away better choices than Pat White.

Armando, I think the dolphins front office want to find out 2 things before giving Chad Pennington a contract offer:

1) Can he have 2 very productive seasons in a row. Keep in mind the Dolphins are playing much better teams this year, not to take anything away from what he accomplished last year, he should of been the MVP in my book. But this year will be a BIG test for Chad. Can he be productive against superior defenses or will we see the Chad Pennington that we saw in both losses to the Ravens, who do have a pretty darn good defense.

2) Where's Chad Henne relative to his progress, reading defenses, footwork, making good decisions, etc etc... That's going to be key. David Lee's input on this could turn out to be a very important one. Will Henne be ready to take over next year or do we have to look at another option, such as re-signing Pennington? Before these 2 questions can be answered, we'll have to wait and see. That's what I think.

I don't understand why the NFL continues to recycle the same coaches and coordinators team by team, when the talent needed to make real decisions is right here on the blogs...

If Chad Henne cannot step in right now and perform after 3 camps, HE AIN'T THE FUTURE! I am tired of the "brining the QB along slowly" routine. If a guy is not smart enough to figure out coverages and protections, how can he eventually be "trained" to think under duress? Answer: He can't. You either got it or you don't. He can be a serviceable backup and maybe, MAYBE, the light bulb may pop on one day and he becomes a Rich Gannon-type. But franchise QB (ala, Marino, Manning(s), etc.), NO WAY! And Chad Pennington is not the future unless you are planning a New York Giant type Super Bowl run (meaning heavy run offense and defense). This team ain't built that way and, especially, if they intend to use trickery vs. run the ball down your throat. I'm hoping Tuna, Sparano and company are somewhere laughing at this notion. If not, we's in trouble!

Peter King handled this in a paragraph today. That's why he's called "The great Peter King".

Sparano says White is still in the deep end of the pool right now and that he will try to find a way to get Henne into games this season...even when Penni is healthy.

I'm Gay and proud of it, Kimbo Slice is my main man! Go Phins

If what you are writing is accurate, then we should have signed M. Vick who could run the Wildcat asap plus serve as a backup QB. Also, Passing on Ryan in the draft to take Jake Long is something that could come back to hunt the team if Henne does not develop.

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