Tag:Chad Pennington
Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:10 pm

Monday musings

---If reports are accurate that Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington is out for the year with a shoulder injury, Sunday's San Diego game will be his last in a Dolphins uniform. Pennington is a free agent after this season and he hasn't exactly lit it up. The Dolphins will turn to Chad Henne, which was going to happen at some point this season. Now he goes in and knows he's the starter and he can play looser. Henne can throw the deep ball, which Pennington could not. That will help the Miami passing game. It's bad when a good guy like Pennington goes down, but in the long run it might be better for the Dolphins.

----My situational coaching issue this week is aimed at the Cincinnati Bengals. They got away with a bad decision, so they were lucky. On their game-winning drive, which was capped with a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left from Carson Palmer to Andre Caldwell, the Bengals completed a pass for a first down at the Pittsburgh Steelers' 15 with 54 seconds left. They hurried to the line and spiked the ball -- stopping it with 48 seconds -- even though they had two timeouts. Bad move. The down was more important than the time. They had plenty of time. They should have either called timeout or run a play. As it turned out, they got a fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive again. But if they didn't hit that pass to running back Brian Leonard, the drive is over. And so is the game. With one less down and a timeout in their pocket. Too many teams spike when they should play on -- or call timeout. The down is more valuable than the time there. I asked Bengals coach Marvin Lewis whose decision it was, and he said, "Mine." Why go that way? He said it was because the Bengals didn't spike it on a play late in the first half and wasted too much time before settling for a field goal. After the game, I asked Palmer about the spike and he said he thought it was the right decision. "You'll think differently about it when you watch it again," I said. I bet he does. He's good in those situations, so I bet if you asked him today what he thought he'd say the spike was the wrong way to go.

----Just a thought: Why was Chris Brown in the game for the Houston Texans when he fumbled late? Wasn't Steve Slaton the yards-from-scrimmage leader in the AFC last year? Sometimes coaches get too cute with their goal-line packages. Just play the best player. Slaton is the best player. Yes, Brown is bigger, but that doesn't mean better. Brown's fumble into the end zone, recovered by the Jaguars, prevent the Texans from a chance to tie the game.

---Receiver Limas Sweed dropped a sure touchdown pass against Cincinnati for the Steelers. He was wide open, appeared to catch the ball, but didn't control it as he went to the ground. There are questions about his hands again, which is why Mike Wallace is stealing the No. 3 receiver job. Wallace, a rookie from Mississippi, had seven catches for 102 yards in the loss to the Bengals.

---Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. I thought LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers other outside rush backer, would be even better than Harrison this year and might take his award away. But after three games, Harrison and Woodley have combined for one sack, that being a scramble for no gain by Palmer on Sunday by Harrison. They have really been non-factors as rushers, which is why the Steelers defense has had back-to-back weeks where they couldn't stop a team's game-winning drive. Harrison has 16 sacks last year and Woodley had 11 1/2. They better get it going if they want to come close to those numbers.

---Does anybody in the NFL have a better spin move than Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney? The man excels at it. He's helped because he is so explosive off the edge that the gets tackles setting quickly outside, which allows him to spin inside. Freeney, when healthy, is the best edge rusher in the game. He has 4 1/2 sacks, but tweaked a hamstring against the Cardinals on Sunday night.

---Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams isn't getting home as much as expected. Williams has one sack in three games. He didn't get a sack working against two rookie tackles and a guard who moved outside against the Jaguars. Williams had 26 sacks the past two seasons, but has one this year. The Texans paid Arizona free agent Antonio Smith a big contract to come in and help the pass rush. He hasn't registered a sack yet to help take the line slants from Williams. The Texans better get those two going or they will be in a lot of shootouts.

---The Bengals are paying receiver Laveranues Coles $6 million a year, but they aren't entirely happy with him. There's a chance you could see more and more of Caldwell. You can tell that Palmer really likes him. Chris Henry, who I thought would have a big year, is slowed some by a leg injury. He's also not entirely out of his coach's doghouse.

---Rookie runner Donald Brown gives the Colts something they haven't had with Peyton Manning, which is an explosive runner. Even Edgerrin James in his prime didn't have the wheels that Brown has. He will help open up the offense.

---Mike Vick or Kevin Kolb? Easy, right. And it isn't Vick.

---Pierre Thomas is a good runner for the Saints. He runs hard. More proof you can find good runners anywhere.

---Is benching Byron Leftwich the answer in Tampa? No. He was good the first two games, but got killed in the third week loss to the Giants. Josh Johnson is more mobile, so that has something to do with it. Why not just play rookie Josh Freeman if it's time to sit Leftwich down?

---Olindo Mare shouldn't sleep well tonight. He might not be around Seattle much longer. He missed two field goals that he has to make against the Bears.



Category: NFL
Posted on: August 25, 2008 10:00 pm

Start the rookie, please

The Atlanta Falcons get it.

The Miami Dolphins don't.

The Falcons get it because they understand that they are in rebuild mode, which is why they are starting rookie Matt Ryan at quarterback.

The Dolphins don't get it because while they're also in rebuilding mode, yet have opted to start veteran Chad Pennington at quarterback instead of rookie Chad Henne. What's the point? The Dolphins aren't ready to win now, so what does starting Pennington do? The future belongs to Henne.

It should start now. Throw Henne in there. He has the look and the demeanor that says he can handle it. He started as a freshman in the Big 10 for Michigan. He's a big boy.

There is nothing quite like seeing it unfold on the field to help a young quarterback grow. Ryan will be so much more advanced than Henne if he plays the whole season and Henne sits and charts plays.

Ryan told me this summer he wanted to start. He felt the experience was better than watching. Now he gets his wish. He appears to have the makeup to handle the ups and downs of starting as a rookie.

"To me, playing is the best way," Ryan said.

A year from now, Ryan will be ready to go forward in his second season. No matter how long Pennington starts, and there's no telling how long it will be, it's that much longer before the Dolphins quarterback of the future gets his career going.

The Falcons get it.

The Dolphins don't.



Category: NFL
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