Friday, August 8, 2008

Dolphin add ex-Jets QB Pennington

The Dolphins' quarterback competition gained a whole new twist Friday as the Dolphins signed former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington to a two-year, $11.5 million contract. The Dolphins did not have to make a roster move to add Pennington as they were two players under the 80-man roster limit to begin the day. Pennington was released yesterday after the Jets' acquisition of he who shall remain nameless here because I'm sick of hearing about him.

Pennington entered the NFL as the 18th overall pick out of Marshall in 2000. He was drafted by then-Jets head coach Bill Parcells, who currently serves as the Dolphins' vice president of football operations. After backing up Vinny Testaverde for two seasons, he stepped into the starting role in 2002. That season war arguably the best of his career as he passed for 3,120 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions. In his eight seasons with the Jets, he completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 13,738 yards and 82 touchdowns with 55 interceptions.

Analysis

We all know the scouting report on Pennington. Smart and accurate but lacking in arm strength. Regardless of his inadequacies, I am ecstatic with this move and think it's definitely a positive. In my mind, anyone that is against it simply doesn't understand the situation .

Essentially, Pennington is just a replacement for McCown in the role of placeholder. Whether it's McCown, Pennington or Beck, the Dolphins' starting quarterback in 2008 is essentially just keeping the seat warm for Chad Henne. The front office drafted Henne to be the quarterback of the future and will likely give him a shot to start in 2009, if not sooner. Anyone that starts before then is not viewed by the team as the likely long-term answer.

For that reason, it's silly to be upset about the addition of Pennington. As I said when McCown was acquired, it really doesn't matter who the guy is because he's not viewed by the team as the long-term answer. He's simply a guy with experience to start for the time being, because the Dolphins didn't have one coming into the offseason.

Pennington is simply an upgraded placeholder and that cannot be a bad thing. He does not have the arm McCown does, nor does he have the mobility in the pocket, but he is a solid NFL quarterback and will not make as many mistakes as McCown would. He won't light up defenses for 400 yards, but he'll keep his team in games more times that not by managing the game and avoiding costly mistakes.

The Dolphins a little better today, and that's something fans should be happy about. With (hopefully) a solid defense and a ridiculous tandem at running back, Pennington gives the team a chance to not be one of the league's bottom feeders. The season opener against the Jets just got a little more interesting as well.