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Weekend Roundup: Chad Pennington talk & Bill Parcells' plan

We're now less than 5 weeks away from the NFL Draft.  But I'm sure to many of you, these next 5 weeks will feel like an eternity.  Yeah - I'll be suffering with you all.

But at least there's still some news to discuss between now and then.  And just think, the Dolphins' offseason training program begins in a week (March 30).  So that should generate some news as well.  In particular, that might be when we finally get some solid news updates on our injured players - notably Justin Smiley, Donald Thomas, and Greg Camarillo.

Anyways, here's some of the more interesting news from this past weekend:

Please don't let this turn into a "Pennington vs Henne" debate again.  Instead, check out Jeff Darlington's terrific article on Chad Pennington and how he's preparing for next season and just appreciate how hard he's working and how motivated he is to be the best player he can be.

Below I've highlighted a few parts of the article, but I highly encourage yo u to read all of it:

''I want to create some consistency,'' said Pennington, who granted The Miami Herald an exclusive look into his offseason training. "One thing that's bothered me throughout my career has been not being able to have two back-to-back healthy seasons. So that's the goal.''

On Jan. 18, when quarterback Kurt Warner led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl with a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, Pennington called Petrone to make sure he saw what Warner had done.

In the first half, Warner, 37, completed 14 of 17 passes with three touchdowns in an age-defying performance.

''Are you watching what I'm watching?'' Pennington asked [his trainer] Petrone. "How are we going to get there? I'm not finished. I want to make this happen.''

The article goes on to talk about Pennington's current workout regimine as he prepares for Miami's training program that begins in a week.  It also talks about Pennington's new mentality in terms of how he views football.  It's refreshing, to be honest.  We don't hear too many professional athletes talk about how much they enjoy doing what they do.  Pennington's at a point in his life (and his career) where he's having fun.  And that's going to rub off on everyone around him - which is a very good thing.

But my favorite quote from Pennington in this article was how he addressed the question about having just one year left on his deal.  Being the professional he is, Chad simply said, "I'm good.  I'm fine."  It's almost as if Pennington possesses an unspoken confidence in himself and his abilities - and that's why he isn't concerned about his contract.

I was as guilty as anyone earlier this offseason.  I had that moment of doubt in what Miami's front office was doing.  My moment of weakness was when the deadline to franchise players came and went without the Dolphins re-signing or franchising any of their key free agents.  But wouldn't you know that all worked out - and Vernon Carey, Channing Crowder, and Yeremiah Bell will remain in Miami.

Others might have begun to panic when the Patriots signed veterans Fred Taylor, Joey Galloway, Shawn Springs, and Leigh Bodden.  Or it could have been when the Bills signed Terrell Owens.  But all along, what we have tried to tell ourselves is that this front office has a plan and we just need to trust them.

Well we aren't the only ones.  Steve DeOssie, a starting LB on Bill Parcells' 1990 Super Bowl Champion Giants team, thinks we should trust in Parcells and his plan.  DeOssie is currently a Boston TV and radio guy who covers the Patriots, but he thinks Miami is on the right track:

"He’s thinking long term with this team,” DeOssie said of Parcells. “The way they’re building is from the inside out - that’s a good thing. The way to get to the playoffs from the AFC East is still through the Patriots; and you’re going to win a shootout very often with Tom Brady. So you slow the game down and keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands."

If you remember, that idea of essentially playing "keep-a-way" from high-powered offenses is what won the Giants their second Super Bowl back in 1990 - beating the high-powered offense of Buffalo, which was led by Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and all of those damn Dolphin killers in the early 90s.

That's why Bill always tries to build teams that have strong offensive lines and solid defenses.  And that explains the moves the Dolphins have made this offseason and will probably be the reason Miami drafts heavy on defense in April (LB and CB in particular) with a couple picks probably also addressing the depth issue along the offensive line.  And that's a plan that has worked in the past for Parcells' teams.

CBS Analyst Dan Dierdorf isn't concerned with Miami's lack of "big moves" in free agency.  Says Dierdorf:

“I wouldn’t take that as, ‘Gee whiz, the Dolphins have dropped the ball.' Maybe Bill thinks they’re on target. Parcells has always been a guy that says, ‘Let my young guys grow. Let them become good players.’"

-The Dolphins have a busy week ahead.  According to the Herald, the Dolphins will travel for private on-campus workouts with Vontae Davis, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, and Clay Matthews.

-The Chicago Tribune got their hands on some Wonderlic scores from the Combine in February.  Some scores to note include Matthew Stafford's 38, Hakeem Nicks' 11, Percy Harvin's 12, Clay Matthews' 27, Brian Cushing's 23, and Rey Maualuga's 15.

-Incase anyone gives a damn what Keyshawn Johnson thinks, he says that Ted Ginn is "a good number 2" receiver, but plays scared.  He also thinks that though the Dolphins need a receiver, Parcells won't spend a first round pick on one because "he thinks they're a dime a dozen."  Basically, Johnson tells us what we pretty much already knew.

-Armando Salguero stated the obvious in his latest column - saying how the Dolphins could fail to make the playoffs in 2009, and yet the season could still be a success.  Well no crap, Armando!