Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank you, Chad; Hello, Chad

In just a little over one year, Chad Pennington managed to become one of my favorite Dolphins players ever.

Now, it's very likely that his latest shoulder injury (torn capsule) is going to knock him out for the rest of the season. That's sad news for anyone, but even more so for a guy who has triumphantly made his way back from two prior surgeries on the same shoulder already. This has got to be demoralizing for him. Whatever his future may hold with this franchise or any team, I wish him the best of luck.

I think Ethan Skolnick may have summed up Pennington's impact the best:
What he did was bring respectability back to the franchise, and give fans one of the most unexpected, enjoyable seasons in South Florida history. He didn't do it alone, but he had a large part in it. And in my 14 years in this business, I have never covered an athlete who better understood what his responsibilities were, to the organization, the public and the media.

Pennington's a true class act and a great player - the kind of guy it's always easy to root for. Thanks, Chad.


Hello, Chad. Chad Henne, I mean.

Now's the time when we see if this team will be able to return to contention next year, or if more years must be wasted as this franchise continues to search for its franchise quarterback.

Had Pennington's injury not been so severe, the team would have faced a decision as to how to move forward with the choice between Henne and Pennington, but that decision has been made for them. It's Henne's team right now and for the rest of the year - 13 games to put it all on the table.

No one should be anointing Henne as the franchise QB yet because quite honestly he hasn't proven anything. I'm certainly not sold on him. But the potential is definitely there. I do believe that.

As Dave Hyde declared:

Quarterback of the future? We'll see. He's the quarterback of the present.

And that's how we, as fans, must approach this. He's the QB of the present looking for a promotion. Nothing's guaranteed.

For those interested, here are the KUBIAK projections for Henne this season (based on 16 games played):


If he could produce at that rate over the course of the rest of the season, I think it would have to be seen as a major success. The numbers aren't spectacular but they would show that he likely isn't going to be a bust, and that's the most important thing to find out now. The significant leaps forward will hopefully happen next offseason. Right now, he just has to show that he's not another John Beck or A.J. Feeley.

By the way, for comparisons sake, a 5.5% DVOA would be akin to the performances put up by Matt Cassel, Joe Flacco, and Sage Rosenfels last season. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely something to build on.

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