As I usually like to do - mainly to put a bow on last week's game before looking ahead at the next game - let's talk a little bit more about some of the things being discussed among both fans and the media.
CHAD PENNINGTON: HE'S DAMN GOOD
It's funny how things work out sometimes, isn't it? How lucky are we as Dolphin fans that Brett Favre decided to not only play again, but to piss and moan his way out of Green Bay?
Well, as fate would have it, the Dolphins would be the lucky beneficiaries of that Favre soap opera. But it's amazing how quickly not only the Jets' organization, but also their fans, turned on Pennington. I wonder how they feel now?
I can tell you how Rich Gannon, former QB and current CBS analyst, feels. Gannon says of Pennington:
"He’s brought stability to that offense. People don’t talk about it, but it’s what he does during the week, what he says in the huddle. He talks to these guys about what’s he thinking, what he’s seeing, what he’s going to get to.
“He talks about, ‘If I get this, I’m going to get to this audible. If I get this, I’m going to throw a quick slant to you.’ He tells these guys before it happens what may happen because of what he does during the week. Because of his experience.
“It cuts down on the mistakes. It cuts down on the penalties. Guys aren’t dropping balls because they’re not surprised. They’re anticipating. The other thing is he’s very good decision-maker. He doesn’t make many poor decisions.”
While Rich makes good points, I think he forgot one thing: Pennington is producing. He's not a game-manager down here in Miami. No - he's been a play-maker. And the stats show it. Look at Pennington's numbers compared to those of some of the game's top QBs:
I think those stats say it all. Pennington isn't just being a "game manager." He's being an efficient and productive QB. And I don't think his play can be understated through 7 games - which is why I've chosen to highlight him here.
If he can sustain this level of play for 9 more games, then Chad Pennington could very well be on his way to Hawaii for the Pro-Bowl in February...for the very first time in his career. Who would have thunk it?
I don't think that Tony Sparano and his coaching staff get enough credit from our fans - myself included. We seem to throw all of our praise on those physically making the plays on the field. But what about those guys on the sidelines and in the booth? Let's give them a shout-out.
Tony Sparano. You got to love him. When asked at Monday's press conference how he celebrated the victory, he said by sleeping for 2 extra hours. But that doesn't mean he didn't get back to work early.
Sparano said he arrived at back at the office at 4 in the morning. And by the time the press conference began, roughly around 11:30 am, he had watched the game film 9 times (3 for offense, 3 for defense, and 3 for special teams). Compare that with Cam Cam last year - who probably strolled into his office at 8 or 9 in the morning after a long night of reading blogs and message boards.
But getting back to Sparano, I don't think any of us thought he'd get this culture and this atmosphere turned around so quickly. But a few nice "upset" wins got the team to buy into what Sparano has been preaching in Miami since he arrived. Now his team believes in him and in themselves - and he's already accomplished more through 7 games in '08 than the previous regime did in their entire '07 season.
But we can't forget about the job that Dan Henning has done on offense. While it was David Lee who really created the 'Wildcat,' Henning was the one with the guts to call the plays - and to do so at the right times.
But this is about much more than just that one package. Henning, despite some questionable play-calls at times, has done a terrific job at mixing up his runs and passes. He's drawn up some excellent game-plans over the past 5 weeks or so. Take this past game, for example. Sparano said that they talked about taking some shots down the field, but it was Henning who decided to make it the first play from scrimmage. And that set the tone, loosened up the coverage, and opened up the passing attack.
And I won't even get into the job that Paul Pasqualoni is doing, who - among other things - put Joey Porter back to his best position and has allowed him to wreak havoc.
So let's take a second here and just be thankful for finally having a coaching staff that is competent.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Dolphins lead the NFL in first down production - averaging 6.48 yards per play on 1st down.
- Chad Pennington is currently ranked 15th in NFL history with an interception percentage of 2.7%.