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Henne benched; Pennington starts vs. Titans

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has announced today that Chad Pennington will start for the Dolphins at quarterback on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

Chad Henne has been benched.

"After making long evaluations of all the details involved, what I've decided to do here as we move forward is Chad Pennington is going to be the quarterback," Sparano said. "Took a lot of things into consideration, weighed an awful lot of options out. This is not an indictment at all on Chad Henne. This is not an indictment on his future.

"This player has gotten an awful lot better right now. He's come two-fold from where he was. But this is something I need to do. At this particular time as I look ahead, my decision is Chad Pennington's strengths are a little bit better suited for where we need to be right now."

Sparano said Henne is disappointed. No doubt. Henne found out Tuesday (his day off) when he came into work to study for the Titans game.

And with that the Dolphins go back to 2008 when Pennington was Miami's starter and took the team to the playoffs. Henne goes to the bench, having failed at his opportunity to show he is a consistent quarterback, much less a franchise quarterback.

If you look at this move along with the adding of soon-to-be-36-year-old cornerback Al Harris, it says the Dolphins coaching staff, front office, everyone, seems to be in win-now mode.

Interesting because this move also makes the team's decision not to add Randy Moss last week seem curious. One could understand the idea of not claiming Moss because he might somehow negatively impact Henne's growth.

But Pennington is another story altogether. Pennington is a veteran and a former teammate of Moss at Marshall University. The two are friends and so one excuse reason for not claiming Moss goes out the window.

Of course, that would assume the Dolphins had a plan to make today's quarterback move. They did not.

And that isn't great news, either. They're flying by the seat of their pants now. They're in win-now mode now. Suddenly that building toward something, that going forward always with an eye on the future is just noise.

As for Henne, don't fret on his behalf. Sparano was careful to say Pennington is the quarterback for the Titans' game. He didn't name him the starter for the rest of the season.

Pennington has been known to be injury-prone in recent years. And while he did great work in leading the Dolphins to the 2008 AFC East title, he was also the starter the first three games of 2009 when Miami was 0-3.

So is Henne cooked in Miami? I don't believe so, yet. He will likely get another shot down the road but that is unclear.

But was his first crack out of the gates a success? The answer to that is quite clear.

NO.

How else to describe it when he's benched?

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What you guys are missing with Pennington is the run blocking isnt as great as last season. Playaction is less effective when you arent gobbling up yards on the ground.

This better pass protect version of the oline is catered around a big-armed qb. Chad Pennington's shoulder cant hold up throwing 30-35 times a game. That's a fact folks.

CP's pop-gun arm is now built to throw 15-20 times max per game. Have to have a dominating run game with a qb like that.

I think Penne givin the talant he will have around him will shine. i said all along that Henne was average at best. i feel bad for him as i hate to see any human being lose their job... but this is the right move. And when Penne does rock... all you nay sayers will be jumping on the band wagon. I do however think the Harris/Allen move was.... well... just cant figure that one put. Hope they know what they are doing. Penne and the boys are going to have to put up lots of points to cover for D... kinda like the Marino days

I like this move. Henne has good mechanics, but he had trouble improvising when under pressure. Pennington is a better leader and is able to find a way to win. I feel like we still have a shot at making the playoffs with Pennington back in there.

Why can't they see that what is killing this team is the split carries they are trying to give Brown and Williams one needs to be the starter and the other needs to be the backup. Stop trying to give them equal carries it is killing us, both these backs are the type they need 15-20 carries in a row before they start to feel out the defenses and shred them.

The first oline was built around Pennington's strengths and weaknesses.

Sparano rebuilt the oline this season to try and match Henne's strenths and weaknesses. Think about it.

The current strengths of this new oline doesnt match Pennington's.

I think Ireland's mom is a prostitute and she raised an idiot for not getting Dez Bryant.

Peolple act like Henne didn't play at all last year. I think he was the starter for all of 3 games. I'm not going to say that Penne is the long term answer for this franchise. But for now, and this week in particular. He gives our team the best chance to win. And as a Phin fan, I will take it. Hennes job is to lead this team, to inspire confidence into the offense. It is clear he cannot do this now. Give Penne a chance, and see what happens. Let Henne catch his breath and hopefully watch and learn some more. Hennings play calling has been bad. Does it have to do with maybe there is no more confidence in our quarterback, and it has affected everyone? We will see. We need more from our qb, plain and simple 9ints over the last 5 games doesn't cut it

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!! Wow, are you kidding me? This is so dumb I cant even believe it. QB's dont develop overnight. Henne has progressed from last year. Huge step backwards

Wow! I'm stunned.

Well, first, let me say to all the "idiots" I called last few days crying for Penny, looks like the joke's on me. I'M THE IDIOT!!!

What do I know? I guess I didn't know Ross would have gotten to Sparano so soon. That's the only way to read this. Ross told Sparano if he continues this trend, he's out. So Sparano is on win-now mode. I would have gotten rid of my OC, but I guess they think it's Henne (as do many of you).

I still don't think it's JUST the QB, but we'll see now.

Crazy though. We went from thinking the team was going in the right direction, to now we're right back at 2007. NO long-term QB, shaky coaching situation, gaping holes on offense AND defense, failed draft picks, just like old times.

This Parcells experiment has been quite depressing.

Waste of time here. I like Penny and all, but even if we get to the playoffs, he can not get us past the top defenses. To top it off our D sucks. I wish they would have just cut the reigns on Henne, and let him go out and play. that was we could see if he truly was any good or not. these coaches were weay to controlling and did not just let him go play. another useless incomplete project.

What makes everybody think this was a Sparano decision? Most likely scenario:

TELEPHONE RINGS IN J IRELAND'S OFFICE
(Ireland playing games on computer) "Hello, Ireland speaking".

(S Ross) "WTF is going on with this team Ireland? You and your bunch have made s fool out of me with the Super Bowl predicion. I want some changes made RFN, that means right fukking now Ireland".

(Ireland) "I'll get right on it sir".

TELEPHONE RINGS SPARANO'S OFFICE

(Sparano updating resume picks phone up) "Hello"

(Ireland) "Tony, it's old man Ross and he's pissed. We gotta do something now".

(Sparano) "OK, we'll fire Henning and sit Henne".

(Ireland) "Are you nuts? You know Bill likes Dan. They go way back".

(Sparano) "Well, what about sitting Henne?

(Ireland) "do it".

Should we have drafted Matt Ryan????

Look at the checklist:

Decent offensive line. CHECK
Two solid backs. CHECK
A stud WR and good slot guy in Bess. CHECK

So where are the freaking TD's? Too many missed plays by Henne, especially in the red zone where it counts.

He may turn out OK, but when was the last time a young QB had like 10 starts over two years to develop, gets yanked due to poor numbers, and the re-emerges into an All Star? I'm afraid we've seen what we're going to get with Henne.

PENNINGTON HAS A REBUILT SHOULDER. HOW LONG WILL IT HOLD UP THROWING 30-35 TIME PER GAME?

GUYS WE ARE NOW ONLY AVERAGING RUNNING 25 TIMES A GAME. gUESS WHAT WE'RE DOING THE OTHER TIMES. PENNINGTON'S SHOULDER WILL NOT HOLD UP!!!

There will be 2 less Dolphin fans at the game Sunday and 2 more Tenn fans who bought my tickets. Hene isnt the problem, he leads us on a 97 yard TD drive and then they shackle him again. What a disgrace by this staff to blame Henne for their shortcomings in coaching

David68,

Hartlines inconsistent and Marshall's doubled sometimes tripled in the redzone. Plus in max protect we only have 2 wr's running pass patterns.

great stuff cocoajoe!

To people who don't know. Michigan is Ross's alma mater. So now you know.

well,let's see, Al Harris is 36, Ricky is approaching retirement, the brass seems to be fond of senior citizens.....bling !!!! WHY WE DON'T ASK MARINO TO COME BACK AND PLAY??? AFTER ALL WE ARE IN WIN NOW MODE NOW!!!!!

Penne shoulder has been rebuilt to withstand 40 throws per game.

Pitchers come back stronger after shoulder surgery.

Penne got us covered.

So, Odrick, Misi, Jerry...you're telling me after that you couldn't have drafted a young TE? Shame on this team. I think we're doomed for failure until I die.

DC,
cheer up.

2 straight wins and we are 6-4 lurking behind the Wetz and Patz who will drop at least a game.

Come on Man.

R&R express.

No more Fist Pump Time.

Penne to Fasano for a TD
Penne on the QB keeper for a TD
Penne to Wallace on the fade

Penne on a QB keeper to. .... hospital

A reminder: Pennington won comeback player of the year award...twice. I'm rooting for a third award.

"Penne dives in the endzone and his bum shoulder and the fins make it the playoffs".

Chad Henne comes in Relief in the first rd and throws for 300 yds but 2 pick six.

At first I thought this was a bad move but maybe for Henne's sake to sit down for a week or two might do him some good. One thing I would caution all you Pennington lovers.....the 2008 Pennington had a much better run attack than he has today. Let's see how he does when teams don't fear what we bring to the table in the run game.

2011keepsparano-as-oline-coach.com

I'll also add, I think management is getting desperate. The Allen for Harris move is a head scratcher. I'm no Jason Allen fan but to drop him for a soon to be 36 year old with injury problems doesn't make a lot of sense. I still think Jason Allen had some value to this team, whether it be on special teams or to relieve an ineffective Smith. This move smells of desperation.

Holy poop! Take a morning and actually do a little work...sign on at the lunch break...and...holy poop! I have to honestly say I didn't really think it would happen. I guess we'll see if Pennington has anything left in that arm. That said, looks like the Henne experiment may have just come to an abrupt end...time to start looking at the draft I suppose.

I'm still thinking we're going to be an 8-8/9-7 team...so that's going to put us in the middle of the pack for the draft (if there is one).

I'd like to think we would have a shot at either Andrew Luck or Jake Locker...but I'm thinking both of those guys are going at least top 10 if not earlier.

I'm not too high on Mallett...accuracy issues and poor mechanics...not to mention mobility issues. While he has that big gun, I think he would be pretty raw...little too raw for a mid 1st rounder. If we traded down I'd rather take a look at Christian Ponder or Nick Foles as a late 1st rounder....but who knows, maybe Mallett ends up being the Flaco of the 2011 draft.

A good 2nd round prospect IMO would be Nathan Enderle out of Idaho. I think he has a lot of upside in that he is very accurate and runs a pro-style offense. I don't think he'd be a starter right off...probably a season or two on the bench.

Knowing this bunch of yahoo deciders on this team...they will probably look at Ricky Stanzi and draft him way too high.

"Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman has limped off the field with a lower right leg injury shortly after opening his first practice with his new team."

First practice and he's already down. Yep, that's what steroid will do to you. Thank goodness we didn't get him.

Chad Pennington's so easy to defense it isnt funny.

JUST ALL OUT BLITZ HIM ON PASSING DOWNS BECAUSE BECAUSE HE WONT BEAT ANY DEFENSE DEEP WITH HIS NOODLE ARM!

Posted by: DyingBreed | November 10, 2010 at 03:08 PM

You are dead on..... they will sit close to the line of scrimmage, stuff the run, take away the short passes and blitz Pennington into retirement!!!!

CraigM,

I posted the same about a lesser run attack and Pennington has to rely on the bum shoulder more. I fully expect him to land on IR before season's end.

we just discarded a second round prospect with upside potential


Has someone seen Pat Cobbs this season?

True, Martin. Sometimes I'm overzealous in everything I do.

After giving Henne a few moments to collect himself, Pennington and Henne had a “teary-eyed” conversation for about 45 minutes, Pennington said.

“It was a tough day for both of us. Probably one of the hardest days for me as a professional because of my relationship with him,” Pennington said. “It’s a situation that’s not fair, and I’ve been there before. I’ve been benched before when it wasn’t really my fault, so I understand every emotion that he has and I understand everything he’s going through. And he has every right to feel the emotions that he has.”

Henne, though, is trying his best to remain upbeat about the move.

“I’m not going to criticize anybody. I’m accountable for what I put out on the field,” Henne said. “I can’t say if it’s fair, is it not. I’m just here to play the game as well as I can to the best of my ability.”

Henne also said he remains confident that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. One source close to Henne said the Dolphins are risking Henne’s loyalty by making this move.

“I know I can play in this league,” said Henne, whose 78.2 passer rating is 24th-best in the NFL. “I know I can play at a high level. I know I can take a team to a championship. I’m very confident in myself and my abilities, and we’ll see where my chances lie.”

Henne also said he holds no ill will toward Pennington, whose 2010 salary will jump from $2.5 million to $5.75 million now that he’s a starter, per his contract.

“Chad’s been great. There’s no hatred now that he’s starting,” Henne said. “It’s none of our decisions. It’s up to the coaching staff, and we’re going to remain the same. He’s helped me throughout my career, I’m going to stick by him, help him out as much as we can. We’re in it together.”

From PBP

CanesRUs,

Now not only do we struggle to get the ball to Marshall deep. We'll now also struggled to get it to him short with CP's noodled arm.


I really think this is a smart move. Henne has made improvements this year. his touch pass is better than last year, he is looking off receivers, better working his progression. but he is telegraphing his play action and needs to get better at that nuiance of the game. He is pretty good, doesn't take a ton of sacks, is pretty accurate. But he isn't the saavy veteran this team needs. Pennington May not have the big arm, but his play action fakes keep the defense guessing. He is very smart and accurate. We have guys that make YAC so he just needs to hit the right receivers and he'll do a better job of that.. With Pennington our chances of going 6-2 the last 8 just got a lot better. It wouldn't be fair to the team and fans to throw away the rest of this year without putting us in the most desireable position to make the playoffs.

This was a very smart and gutsy move.. knowing they would be criticized.. Great job guys... Henne needs to get better and he will.. The main thing with him is work on his polay action fakes.. Getting better at that would make him a far better quarterback..

Totally ridiculous, I love Pennington, I think he is a great backup and someday will be a great coach but his lack of arm strength will further shrink the field for the Dolphins which is a scary thought considering it was already shrunk even with the strong armed Henne in at QB. I have a suggestion for Sparano, how about growing a pair and doing what must be done and benching your offensive coordinator? This is the safe move, predictable just like everything else the Dolphins do. This will not change a thing, even if they are lucky enough to make the playoffs they will not get out of the first round. It's time to build for the future, I am not saying Henne is the answer, he hasn't shown that he is but Pennington is on his last legs so this solves absolutely nothing. The least you can do is to continue to develop Henne and that's not going to happen on the bench, wow! Who knew that when Bill Parcells hired Sparano that he just got a shorter version of Dave Wannsuck. I should have known, he over uses the word standpoint just like Wanny did.

anyone who thinks pennington should start is an idiot.
with him we were like 2-50 on thrd and long
because all he cares about is stats, last uear we were 0-3 with him and he cost us the season, and he will cost us this one too. henne was not the problem. HENNING
AND SPARANO are the problems. this is horrible

Waterboy,

CP's salary just doubled? Wow! Ross having to dish out an additional $3.5 million for this move. Pennington's definitely playing more than just 1 game.

Looks like CP's the starter until his noodled arm fall off this season.

Sparano is SO clueless. Such a typical Parcells-esque move of taking all the credit and passing along all the blame. The offensive schemes and play-calling have been so poor that to just pull Henne seems so ridiculous. Whatever. Another average season for the perpetually average Dolphins. Yawn.

M-O-M-E-N-T-U-M IS A MAJOR KEY TO WINNING AND LOSING GAMES!

Ask yourselves Dolphans who's been most responsible for our team losing momentum than Dan Henning and his stupid decisions?

This is clearest indictment yet of this coaching staff and front office. Their entire re-building plan has just been proven to be a fraud.

Sure, they have made some massive mistakes that everyone knows about, like Pat White, Pat Turner, Ernest Wilford, Gibril Wilson, paying huge dollars to injury-prone guys like Grove and Smiley, releasing Roth, passing on Hakeem Nicks two drafts ago, etc, etc.

But today's move just shows that their entire plan has backfired. They thought they knew Henne after last season. They went out and traded for Brandon Marshall, hurting their draft prospects in the near future, and paid him huge money, specifically to pair him up with a young, strong-armed QB that could utilize his talents. They spent big money on Dansby, figuring the team was about to take a leap forward and just needed a big leadership piece on the defense. All of this was predicated on their faith in Henne.

With one seat-of-their-pants decision this morning, they have admitted they wrong from the start.

Personally, I believe Dan Henning is responsible for 90% of Henne's problems. He should have been fired long before Henne was benched. Bottom line for Sparano, I guess, is that if you are only going to throw the ball 10 yards downfield, accuracy is the key. Might as well start the more accurate QB, rather than opening up the offense and utilizing the skills of the players on your offense.

I hate this coaching staff. Once again, the franchise has allowed an egomaniac to appoint a head coach without even an interview process (JJ-Wannsedt was the last time). Now we are once again stuck with an underqualified, in-over-his-head loser at head coach. And winning the division in 2008 has just solidified his tenure - even though that 2008 team caught every possible break, including an insanely easy schedule, a Tom Brady knee injury, and a late-season Brett Favre collapse. And they still needed the tie-breaker to beat the Pats minus Brady for the division title.

This organization is a joke. Pick up Al Harris, but pass on Randy Moss. Nothing more needs to be said.

I think what people fail to realize when comparing Henne to Sanchez, Flaco, Ryan, Stafford, etc...is that all of those guys are first rounders. Henne was a 2nd rounder. There was a reason he was a 2nd rounder and not a 1st rounder. Yes, those guys are probably better...or are/were at minimum more NFL ready. Henne needed a couple years on the pine (as most 2nd rounders usually need). A 1st rounder selection is still no guarantee at the position (see Matt Leinartt) but there is a substantial drop off from 1st rounder to 2nd rounder. A 2nd rounder is going to have a lot more work to do and is more of a project...may take longer to come into his own or may never come into his own.


It's hard to believe how many fans are clearly clueless.. Penningtons been an winner his whole life.. He never has the gaudy arm but he does everything else you could want in a QB.. Everything.. He is better at reading defenses, better leader, more accurate, better playaction fake. This guy is as good as Peyton Manning in every thing but arm strength.. Call me an idiot, haters.. Watch this team go 6-2 and make the playoffs.. Then when they don't make the super bowl, which they wont, It's because of Pennington and his noodle arm.. You trolls don't know a thing about football..
Here's another thing... Bet you anything Brandon Marshall is ecstatic with this move..

Somebody call Dan Marino and ask for Bill Cowhers number, or go to Tampa and talk to Jon Gruden.

By The way gentlemen.. Your idea that Pennington will further shrink the field, is flawed. Pennigtons play action fakes are one of the best in the league.. That extends the field because the element of surprise is in play. The safetys have to respect the run and come in a couple yards or hesitate. This is a monster weapon and easily makes up for the 10 yards less he can throw... The difference in length between Henne and Pennigton is maybe 10 yards that it.. Pennington can throw about 50 to 55 yards.. How often do you see throws longer than that any ways.. How many of those so called strtch the field throws has henne made this year.. 1... For 46 yards.. Pennington can make that throw...

ForksPhin,

I would even be in favor of keeping Sparano if we couldnt get a Gruden. Im beginning some of these decisions are being forced on Sparano by Ireland and Henning.

Tough for Sparano to ver rule Henning when Ireland and Parcells have a secret handshake deal not to fire the old man no matter what. I believe Ireland would fire Sparano before he let Henning go.

Dean,

You are clueless my friend. Playaction fakes only work when you run the ball extremely well. If you dont run the ball extremely well a playaction fake fakes no one out, no matter how slight of hand you are.

hahaha i remember when all you fish fans talked so much garbage at the beginning of the year how great you guys were and how bad the jets are. were playing for best record in football and your giving up already got to love miami fans

but being a 2nd rnd pick means he was probaly drafted to a better team than Sanchez, Flaco, Ryan, Stafford, etc...

Yo Mr. clueless..

The running game doesn't work as well without a good playaction fake.. The safetys and linebackers have to hesitate a second to read what's going on, they can't just react genius.. They are symbiotic...

you wetz fan of a team that barely beat the kitty cats should get off this blog

phinsfan78 - We passed on Ryan in that draft for Jake Long...took Henne in the 2nd rd. Henne was not drafted to a better team.

This is a very gutsy call for Sparano. His job now rests on Penny's arm. Seriously, who's head will roll if Penny falters? Henning is gone, no doubt about it, but Sparano's fate is sitting on the fence.

Also if Penny fails and Henne goes back to starting, could the team and front office trust Sparano's management anymore? Some of you may be upset with the move, but Sparano is sweating.

Also your forgetting all the other things Pennington does better. He looks off receivers better, He reads coverages better, he leads the team better, he has a better touch pass.. He sees the field better.. He not only hits the open man but he'll hit the guy that can get you more yac.. He is better than Henne in every single thing BUT arm strength.. And Henne aint exactly hitting the long ball.. So it's a plus gain... In every single area

Are you kidding me? The play action? If i am a db playing the Dolphins I have zero worries of Pennington throwing the ball over the top on me. This is not the first time that Pennington starts, I don't recall a lot of long throws down the field after a play action last time he was the QB. This team has no vertical game period and Pennington definitely doesn't help that, I don't care how well he can fake a running play.

The way the Phins have been playing, does not involve the long ball. Also, it requires quick decision making and putting the ball to a spot where the receiver will be. You cannot wait for the receiver to get open and then throe the ball, because it will be too late by then. These are all things Pennington does well. As long as you are going to run this offense, Penny is just a better fit. If you change the OC and the offense, then things change. I feel sorry for him all the pressure he will be under to produce, when you would figure that he has to be rusty not playing since early last year. I hope we score 30 or 40 with him guiding us down the field, eating up time of possession and helping our D by keeping the Tenn. offense off the field. One thing for sure, this team will now have a leader.

Michael Vick anybody? How about Donavan McNabb? Yeah, don't like this move by Sparano. Unless they go to the Super bowl this move gets them nothing. Even if they make the playoffs, they'll be no better off. At least if you let Henne play the rest of the year, you would know one way or another if he's the guy. 8 games isn't enough to know. Plus, if they start winning, the 1st pick gets lower and lower. There's a good chance all the top guys are gone when you pick. What's the plan then? Another Henne type guy in the mid-rounds? This is a panic move by Tony for sure.

I disagree with this move, I think they should have played out the season with Henne at QB. At least then, they'd know for sure. If Pennington finishes the season, what's next? Try Henne again or have they seen enough to determine that he isn't a starting caliber QB? Personally, I believe it's too soon to tell and it appears things are in panic mode trying to win now.

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