It's amazing what one ugly game can do to a fan base. Dolphin fans that were filled with so much anticipation and hope this time last week suddenly seem to be going crazy with panic. Instead of attempting to move forward and focus on Monday night's home opener against the Colts, Dolphin fans on this site and other websites across the web are attacking one another and throwing out wild assumptions that are based on just 60 minutes of regular season football.
Yes - that's right. Did you forget? The Miami Dolphins will be on national television on Monday night to open up their 2009 home schedule. We should all be talking about how excited we are and how electric that stadium is going to be as the 2008 AFC East Champions take the field in primetime on national television. But we're not. Instead we're talking about a non-existent quarterback controversy.
Being completely honest, one of the things that always kills me is how much credit the starting quarterback gets when things are good and how much blame the same starting quarterback gets when things are bad. There's an old saying I always think of when this tired "Chad Pennington vs Chad Henne" debate comes up - the back-up quarterback is always the most popular player on a struggling football team.
Be careful of what you wish for, Dolphin fans.
We all wanted to get rid of the "care-taker quarterback" back in 2007, too. We all wanted to see the hot-shot rookie who was supposed to be the long-term QB solution. That didn't work out too well.
I also think back to the Jay Fiedler era. It seemed like every single year had some Dolphin fans calling for Fiedler to be benched in favor of the back-up quarterback who they believed was the better player. And it didn't matter if it was Damon Huard, Brian Griese, Sage Rosenfels, or
But it's not just in Miami where this happens. Take the 2008 New York Jets, for example. Almost all Jets fans wanted to ditch Chad Pennington and bring in Brett Favre. Favre was supposed to be better. He had the cannon arm. He had all the career achievements. He simply had more talent. But a funny thing happened - Favre wasn't the player everybody thought he would be. By the end of 2008, I had Jets fans coming up to me telling me how much they miss Pennington. And I'm convinced, just as those same Jets fans were, that Pennington could have taken that Jets team to the playoffs. Of course, we'll never know.
To be fair, there are just as many examples of success as there are failures. Tony Romo was a success replacing Drew Bledsoe. Aaron Rodgers was a success replacing Brett Favre. So it can happen.
But what makes you think Chad Henne right now would be an upgrade over Pennington? Was it his "stellar" preseason? Was it the fact that he continually struggled to get the ball into the endzone during training camp two-minute drills? Or was it all of his "success" at Michigan?
Have any of you seen anything to make you think Chad Henne can be a good quarterback in this league? Anything at all? Please - if you have, let us know.
The time will come for Chad Henne. And I do believe he'll be at least an above-average NFL quarterback once it does come. But that time simply isn't now. He isn't ready. And it's not worth the risk of losing the entire locker room by benching a team captain and the offensive leader at this point in the season.
Everybody wants to make assumptions, it seems. Well I'm going to do some assuming of my own. If Chad Henne was to take over this football team right now, the Dolphins don't even sniff a .500 record. Period. You replace Pennington with Henne and you are indeed throwing in the towel just 60 minutes into the 2009 season. Is that the kind of message you want to send this team?
Henne will get his chance. If the Dolphins fall out of contention early, he'll get his chance this season. But don't rush it.
The grass is not always greener on the other side.