Chad Pennington just got done talking to the media at Dolphins camp. That's what the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback does every Wednesday around this time, so yes, you should know by now that Pennington is the starter.
He got a text from coach Tony Sparano Tuesday, asking when he was coming to work. Pennington texted back, saying he expected to be in by 10 a.m. Then he asked if Sparano needed him earlier. The coach said, "sure, a little sooner."
"I'm on my way," Pennington texted back.
After meeting with the coach for 45 minutes, he was returned to the job as the Dolphins starter. Pennington left the facility and took his dog to the groomer, which also conveniently gave Sparano an opportunity to speak with Chad Henne about being benched.
Then Pennington returned around 11 a.m.
"Chad and I talked for about an hour, got teary-eyed because we have a good relationship and we're good friends," Pennington said. "And it's a situation that's not fair. I've been there before. I've been benched when it wasn't really my fault. I understand every emotion he has and I understand everything he feels. He has every right to feel everything he has. We talked about it.
"I told him he needs to be ready to play. I made sure in the practice and the scripts we have, he gets some reps, because you're never sure what's going to happen. Just like he had to get ready to play three games in last year. It was a tough day for both of us, probably one of the hardest days for me as a professional."
All that behind them, Pennington can now get down to business.
"But now, it's time to roll," Pennington said. "It's time to focus on winning a football game."
Pennington replaces a player who threw for 1,900 yards the first eight games of the season. But the Miami offense lacked something -- aside from touchdowns, wiseguys. Pennington hopes to bring part of what has been missing.
"I just think as an offense, we've got to make sure we create a spark," he said. "Offensive football is about energy, it's about momentum. It's about synergy. It's about a feeling you have. And none of that happens with stats, it's not a statistic you can throw at it. So we have to find a way to create sparks during games. And when there's a chance to stick a dagger in a team and take their heart out, we got to do it. And when there's a chance to make a big play and get our crowd involved, we've got to do that. It's really important our crowd comes and supports us and so our we. So we have to create sparks and create energy and feed off that."
The Dolphins haven't done that. It's hard and wrong to blame Henne for the offense failing to do that. That would mean this change was easy. It was not.
But it is a fact and so Pennington is hoping to avoid the kind of offensive offense we've seen part of the past eight games.
"Sometimes we get in our own way ... We miss a block, we miss a throw, we fall down on a route, we've gotten in our own way," he said. "I think that's a fair assessment and we need to clean those things up. Just play better team football and that takes championship individual performances."