Has the quarterback situation improved in Miami?

In the weeks leading up to the kickoff the 2008 NFL Season, I’ll take a look at position groups that could potentially lift teams to new heights, or bury them and their postseason hopes. Today I take a look at the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback situation after the team added Chad Pennington.

Chad PenningtonTo say the Miami Dolphins had quarterback issues in 2007 would be putting it lightly. Whether it was Trent Green, Cleo Lemon or rookie John Beck, the results were the same and losses piled up in the standings.

Heading into 2008, the depth chart has changed but will the results? Gone are Green and Lemon; in are former New York Jets’ starting quarterback Chad Pennington and rookie Chad Henne.

When Bill Parcells took over the football operations for the Dolphins this summer, one of the areas he knew he had to upgrade was quarterback. And after watching Henne and Beck struggle in camp over the summer, Parcells reached out to the recently released Pennington – the quarterback he drafted when he was the Jets’ head coach.

The book is already out on Pennington: weak arm, severely limited, can’t throw downfield, etc. But he’s also a fundamentally sound veteran and a solid leader that can hopefully help tutor Beck and Henne for the future. Pennington is also familiar with the division and new offensive coordinator Dan Henning used to be his QB coach in New York so he knows the offense.

Eventually the Dolphins have to see what they have in Beck and Henne. It’s wise to allow young quarterbacks develop slowly, but sooner or later they have to sink or swim on the field. And while Parcells has a tendency to prefer players that he had a hand in drafting, Miami did spend a second round pick on Beck last year, so it would be unfair to give up on him too soon.

Chad HenneBut at the very least, Pennington buys Miami more time to see what they have at the position. It’s also fair to say that Pennington gives the Dolphins the best chance to win this season and Parcells did him a solid by drafting massive left tackle Jake Long with the first overall pick in last April’s draft. Long will be counted on to protect Pennington’s blind side and hopefully give the Dolphins a cornerstone tackle for years to come.

While it’s unlikely he’ll lead the Dolphins to the playoffs this year, Pennington at least gives the team a respected veteran presence in the huddle and on the field. Time will tell if Henne or Beck can develop behind him.

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