Hanging Chad! Henne Benched, Pennington New Starting QB - NBC 6 South Florida

Hanging Chad! Henne Benched, Pennington New Starting QB

A different Chad will be taking snaps this Sunday



    So the Miami Dolphins wasted about as much time pressing the panic button as Coach Tony Sparano does deciding to kick a field goal.

    That's to say it was quick and way to eager.

    Sparano announced Wednesday that Chad Pennington, yes he of the oft-repaired noodle arm, will be his starting QB against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday and Henne will hold a clipboard.

    No Henne isn't hurt. Even if he was, he'd be a better option than Pennington.

    But this move officially signals to Dolphin fans that they have given up on the "Henne is the future" project and for all intensive purposes the rest of the season, despite what Sparano said to a stunned media group.

    "This is not an indictment of Chad Henne at all," Sparano said. "It is not an indictment of his future. I do believe this player has gotten an awful lot better, certainly come two-fold from where he was to where he is right now. At this particular time, it's something I feel this is something I need to do for our football team."

    Pennington was supposed to be a mentor to the younger Chad, helping him navigate the NFL landscape and add the mental aspect to match his cannon arm. No one knew Pennington was actually a threat.

    Now the 4-4 Dolphins will have to make good on Brandon Marshall's playoff guarantee with an aged QB well past his prime and an offense that just got that much more vanilla.

    On its face, the Dolphins offense appeared to be made for Pennington and not Henne. Now offensive coordinator Dan Henning will get his QB of choice.

    "I just think as an offense, we've got to make sure we create a spark," Pennington said. "Offensive football is about energy, it's about momentum. It's about synergy. It's about a feeling you have. And none of that happens with stats, it's not a statistic you can throw at it. So we have to find a way to create sparks during games."

    Sparks come from big plays, usually created in the passing game by going deep. Spark is not Pennington's strong suit.

    Snickering NFL defenses will now load up the box and continue to stymie a putrid running game, all the while daring Pennington to stretch the limits of his arm, which means get used to check downs and running backs catching the ball in the flat.

    There will be no outs, no fly patterns, none of the offensive tools that will actually help this team succeed. No wonder the Dolphins didn't claim Randy Moss off waivers.

    Dinking and dunking has yet to deliver an NFL championship and it's doubtful that will change this season.

    Maybe the wildcat resurfaces. After all, it was created to create the big plays Pennington could not in 2008.

    As for Henne, this could end his professional career as a benching has done for Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn and a myriad of other young quarterbacks with promise that had their confidence crushed by a panic move decision.

    Perhaps this move means Sparano's benching will soon follow.