Pennington named Dolphins' starting QB for Sept. 7 opener vs. Jets
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano couldn't help but have a little fun Monday when he finally announced the winner of the team's drawn-out quarterback competition.
"It's Chad," he said, chuckling.
"Pennington," he added. "I think the guy will do a great job of managing our team. And the team has responded really well to him, and that's where we are going."
Pennington was the face of the Jets the past eight seasons and arrived in camp this year competing with Kellen Clemens for the starting job. The Jets released Pennington more than two weeks ago when they acquired Favre from Green Bay.
Pennington, who learned of the decision after practice Monday afternoon, was only made available to speak to the media before the announcement. But he released a statement through the team.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to lead this team," Pennington said. "We've worked extremely hard over the last two weeks, and I'm proud to be a Miami Dolphin."
The decision was hardly surprising.
Pennington was recognized as the starter when he signed with Miami. The 32-year-old separated himself from Miami's other quarterbacks -- Henne, Josh McCown and John Beck -- and has led the Dolphins to consecutive preseason wins in convincing fashion. He is 16-for-21 for 149 yards and one touchdown.
Perhaps more importantly, he quickly has become one of Miami's leaders. Pennington has held receivers after practice to work on routes and timing. And he's taken teammates out for dinners and movies just to get to know them.
"A heck of a leader," guard Justin Smiley said last week. "I mean, he doesn't know any of us from the man on the moon right now, but he comes into the huddle and says, 'Give me your eyes.'
"We didn't break the huddle good one time and he was like, 'Nah, nah, nah. Next time, we've got to stand and break the huddle.' Just stuff a veteran with great leadership would do. It's pretty exciting."
But the Dolphins have seen this act before.
Pennington will be the 13th starting quarterback for Miami since Dan Marino announced his retirement in 2000. And inconsistency at the position is perhaps why the Dolphins have missed the playoffs a record six straight seasons.
Coming off an embarrassing 1-15 season, the Dolphins are hoping Pennington can provide some stability this season and be a bridge and mentor to Henne. Pennington ranks first in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 attempts with a 65.6 completion percentage.
"We're a young team," Sparano said. "He brings management skills to the table. He can manage a game really well. He's a little bit calmer in there. He's seen more situations."
The decision to start Pennington leaves the future of Beck and McCown in doubt. Sparano did not announce a backup and has insisted the Dolphins could keep four quarterbacks, but financial reasons and limited roster space make that scenario unlikely.
Henne, the second-round pick from Michigan, has received the most playing time in the exhibition season and likely will be the backup. For now, the Dolphins seem content on not rushing the rookie's progress.
Sparano pointed to Pennington's experience and command in the huddle as reasons he tabbed him the regular-season starter over Henne.
"The guy has seen some of these critical situations that are going to come up," Sparano said. "And he understands the speed. It's going to be a whole lot faster when we play the Jets the first game of the season."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
TRAINING CAMP 2008
Commentary/featuresWarner proves he has future
The Cardinals gave Kurt Warner the chance to compete with Matt Leinart for the starting spot, and the 37-year-old quarterback made the most of the opportunity. John Clayton
Pennington's learning curve
It seemed the Jets could not help Chad Pennington pack his bags fast enough. Now the most experienced QB on the Dolphins, he's relishing the chance to excel again.
• Kreidler: Future still promising for 49ers' Smith
• Clayton: Injuries impact preseason
• Seifert: A new approach in Detroit
• Smith: Favre drama a reality check for McNabb
• Kuharsky: Titans focused on defense
• Sando: Running key for Holmgren's swan song
• Mosley: Giants hope history teaches well
• Garber: Coughlin distances from SB win
• Williamson: Chiefs engergized by youth
• Chadiha: O-line might hold real keys for Jets
• Wickersham: Three tips for Favre
• Mosley: Giants done with celebrating
• Naylor: Canadian divide on NFL invasion
• Graham: Sleeper Bills | Blog: Yo, Canada
• Seifert: For a change, no distractions for Vikes
• Mosley: McNabb confident Eagles among elite
• Kuharsky: Garrard taking control
• Mosley: Eagles poised to return to prominence
• Clayton: Young on his way to elite status
• Kuharsky: Garrard ready to lead Jags
• Chadiha: Delhomme determined to seize moment
• Yasinskas: Smith's approach suits Falcons
• Mosley: Zorn's coaching desire finally fulfilled
• Williamson: Young Raiders share Kiffin's hunger
• Graham: Jets wiping slate clean
• Chadiha: Turner ready to lead Falcons
• Clayton: Vikings firmly in Jackson's corner
• Walker: Tough schedule awaits Steelers in 2008
• Mosley: Favre is QB turned ringmaster
• Clayton: 5 reasons Favre would start for Pack
• Graham: Patriots not dwelling on past
• Sando: Rams optimistic despite questions
• Williamson: Shanahan points to playoffs
• Walker: Bengals look to move past chaos
• Yasinskas: Delhomme, Peppers must step up
NFL blog network• NFL Nation blog
• AFC: North | South | East | West
• NFC: North | South | East | West
• Contact our bloggers
Camp Confidential training camp tourA breakdown of our annual camp tour:
• Wednesday, July 30: Chargers, Cowboys
• Thursday, July 31: Texans, 49ers
• Friday, Aug. 1: Patriots
• Saturday, Aug. 2: Bengals, Panthers
• Sunday, Aug. 3: Broncos
• Monday, Aug. 4: Rams
• Tuesday, Aug. 5: Steelers
• Wednesday, Aug. 6: Jets
• Thursday, Aug. 7: Raiders | Redskins
• Friday, Aug. 8: Falcons
• Saturday, Aug. 9: Jaguars
• Tuesday, Aug. 12: Eagles | Vikings
• Wednesday, Aug. 13: Bills
• Thursday, Aug. 14: Chiefs
• Friday, Aug. 15: Giants | Seahawks
• Saturday, Aug. 16: Bucs | Lions
• Sunday, Aug. 17: Browns
• Monday, Aug. 18: Titans
Video• NFL Insiders on Bills, Broncos, more
• Rachel Nichols on Favre, Jets
• NFL Live dissects ESPN.com power rankings
Audio• Podcast: Biggest questions
Scouts Inc.• Camp outlook: AFC Q&A on X's and O's
• Camp outlook: NFC Q&A on X's and O's
• Notable quarterback battles
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Nfl Team Apparel Youth Miami Dolphins Erosion Logo Aqua T-shirt