Dolphins' Pennington relishes his role
MIAMI -- Anybody who is familiar with Chad Pennington's story will understand his perspective.
He isn't thinking about undergoing two shoulder surgeries, being benched as a starter and ultimately being released by the team (Jets) that originally drafted him in the first round 10 years ago.
He isn't basking in his victory resurrection in 2008, when he led the Dolphins, who had finished with a 1-15 record in 2007, to an 11-5 season and an AFC East title.
He isn't about to complain that a running back often breaks huddle lining up in the shotgun behind the center while the quarterback splits out wide in some scheme called the Wildcat.
"Every snap I get I really try to stay in the moment and relish it because it can be taken away from you," Pennington said. "I've been on the brink of not being able to play again, and it's not very fun. And I've been fired, too, and that's not fun."
Pennington laughed heartily in the postgame locker room Saturday night, unaware that Henne, his backup, was scurrying around with two of the veteran's three young sons.
Earlier, Pennington had led the Dolphins to a 27-17 preseason win over Carolina at Land Shark Stadium. Sure enough, in five of his 20 offensive plays, Pennington was split wide while Ronnie Brown took the snaps in the Wildcat. On one, he took a lateral on an end around and threw a 35-yard completion.
"People ask if we're giving away secrets [in preseason], but really, everything we do we did last year, so it's on film," Pennington said. "We just look at it as part of what we do. The more we can do as an offense and as players, the better off we'll be, and the more versatile we'll be."
As for forecasts by analysts that quarterbacks splitting wide in the Wildcat this season will be the target of more aggressive defenses, Pennington smiled about the prospect.
"That's why we ask the coaches to line up 5 yards off the line of scrimmage," he said with a hearty laugh.
Then again, one senses that the Dolphins are waiting to get in closed practices before they unleash the next part of the Wildcat with White, a rookie and former West Virgnia standout. White's work has been exclusively at quarterback since he was drafted under the speculation that his skills would be the next extension of the Wildcat.
"That's part of the suspense of this year, isn't it?" Pennington said.
Here's what else I learned while with the Dolphins, the final stop on my training camp bus tour:
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.
MORT GOES TO CAMP
ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen's 21-team bus tour of training camps is over. Mort's trip started in Arlington, Texas, where he met Dallas owner Jerry Jones at the team's new stadium and ended in Miami Gardens, Fla., for a visit with the Dolphins. Mort camp page