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It's been a long, winding road

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Think back to where we were a few months ago.  The Dolphins were coming off of a 1-15 season.  We hired a legend in Bill Parcells, in hopes of turning this thing around.  And it seemed like nobody's job was safe - as Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller would come to find out.

At quarterback, nobody knew what might happen.  John Beck was coming off a tough rookie season, though he looked much better when he stepped in to replace Cleo Lemon in the regular season finale against the Bengals.  And Trent Green was coming off a concussion and his future was in doubt.

As the offseason unfolded, we learned that both Lemon and Green were in the past, decisions by an old regime that this new regime would not live with.  Both left Miami, never to return.  Who did return was John Beck - also picked by he previous regime.  The thing that was interesting here was that nobody really knew what Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano thought of him. 

Then, on March 2, the Dolphins added a veteran QB to their roster by signing Josh McCown.  Many figured this meant a QB competition was to begin between McCown and Beck.  However, as the draft approached, rumors swirled about Miami having interest in Michigan QB Chad Henne.  But if the Dolphins selected Henne, would that mean Beck's days were numbered?

As the draft unfolded, we saw the Dolphins pass on Henne to select Phillip Merling with the 32nd pick.  Many, including myself, thought that this was a sign that the new regime liked Beck enough to pass on Henne - who most probably assumed would be gone by pick #57.

He wasn't.

And the Dolphins made Henne the 57th overall selection.  The QB situation in Miami was as cloudy as ever.

Tony Sparano made it clear right from the beginning that all 3 QBs would have a chance to win  the starting job.  And so the battle was on.  Unfortunately, the promise that Beck showed during OTAs and off-season workouts - and there was promise, from what I've heard - quickly dissipated once training camp began.  At times, it seemed like all 3 had their struggles.

Then Brett Favre decided to return and was traded to the New York Jets.  It's funny, though, how Favre deciding to return to football - and the Packers deciding they didn't want him back - changed everything for a team that was totally uninvolved in that circus.

Regardless, the Jets acquired Favre and they quickly moved on releasing their former starting QB, Chad Pennington - tossing him to the side like he was yesterday's leftovers.  Well, one man's leftovers are a starving man's feast - or something like that.  And the Dolphins, by this time, were seemingly starving for a QB.

The Dolphins wasted no time, quickly reaching out to Pennington.  In a matter of days, Pennington was in Miami and was quickly establishing himself as the best QB this team has right now - and possibly the best the franchise has had since #13 retired.

And now here we sit, less than 2 weeks away from the season opener, and we can say that we have a starting QB.  And not just any starting QB, but a very capable one - one that is statistically the most accurate QB to ever play the game.  And one that, by all accounts, is smart and is a leader for an offense - which is exactly what this offense has needed for some time. 

The players all seem to love him already.  And most of all, like most of us Dolphin fans, Pennington probably now has the same hatred for the Jets that we do.  It's that hatred and that fire in Chad's belly that will drive him to be the very best he can be and play as sharp as he can play when his former employers roll into town to start the season.  And that game isn't just a game anymore.  It's now CBS #1 game of the week, meaning countless cities across the country will be watching.  The national media will be, too, because we all know how much they love Brett Favre.

But what about Chad?  Call me crazy, but is it so far-fetched to believe that Pennington, who I'm sure is chomping at the bit to go against his former team, can lead this Dolphins' team to a huge victory to start the season?  Maybe it is.  But this feeling of hope is what you, as a fan, get when you finally have a legitimate, experienced leader under center for your football team.

I never once thought I'd ever say this:

Welcome to Miami, Mr. Pennington.

Be sure to get involved with our community projections.  Currently, we're projecting Pennington's stats and you can click here to go directly to that thread to post your projections.