So what happens now?
That's the question that many Dolphin fans are pondering as the 3rd week of training camp gets underway. And now more than ever, there are even more question marks surrounding the most important position on the field. Sure, John Beck had a solid, if unspectacular, preseason opener. And Chad Henne looked quite good against Tampa Bay's 2nd team defense. But now we add into the mix a Bill Parcells favorite: Chad Pennington.
Truth be told, the acquisition of Pennington is beginning to grow on me. Not because I don't believe in the two young guys we already got, but because Pennington is clearly an upgrade over Josh McCown. Pennington, at the very least, will not make too many mistakes.
He's a smart player and I offer up this article as an example. It's a breakdown that supposedly shows that Pennington throws the deep ball with more success than Brett Favre. And it was written to put to bed the idea that Penning lacks arm strength. Well, that's not what this article is showing. Even a player who doesn't have great arm strength and can still chuck it deep. The arm strength of a QB really comes into play when trying to squeeze a ball into tight spots or when throwing a pattern like a deep out, which allows the cornerback in coverage to make a break on the ball before it gets to the receiver. What that article does show, however, is that Pennington makes very good decisions when taking chances down the field. He doesn't force long throws like a gunslinger (a la Favre) would do. And at this stage, a smart veteran QB is what this team needs.
Speaking of what this team needs, I can tell you what it doesn't need: 4 quarterbacks on the roster. However, Tony Sparano seems to be telling us to expect Miami to keep all 4 QBs for at least a little while - and possibly into the regular season. But I don't get it? Wasn't Sparano worried about not having enough snaps for 3 QBs on the roster? Now he's going to keep 4 and divide the reps among all of them? Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather McCown's snaps get divided among the 2 young QBs (because young guys need reps) and Pennington (to develop chemistry with new players). From where I stand, it just doesn't make sense for McCown to remain in camp right now.
PREPARE FOR TOUGH PRACTICES AHEAD
That's the message for everybody on the roster right now. This week is going to be a very big week. Now it's time to figure out who will and who won't be around anymore come September. And according to Sparano, it's time to tell it like it is:
“We’re kind of out of the hurtin’ people’s feelings business right now. We’re getting into the real deal.”
Among those positions where improvement is much needed are wide receiver and special teams. Kick and punt coverage was very disappointing on Saturday night and Tony Sparano and company will not tolerate that. As for the receivers, everyone outside of Ted Ginn should be on notice: dropped balls are completely unacceptable and Sparano seems to be losing his patience with it.
This is surely going to be a fun week ahead - for us fans, not so much for the players - as we head towards preseason game #2.