Sunday 4 January 2009
Back on August 11 of last year, I lamented the Dolphins' signing of Chad "Limp-Noodle Arm" Pennington, worrying that he wasn't the right solution for the Dolphins long-term quarterback problems. And while in the interest of fairness, I must admit that Pennington was instrumental in leading the Dolphins to first-place in the AFC East following our 1-win season in 2007, it looks like I was right in the end. That's right, this is another "see, I told you so" blog entry.
Earlier today, the Dolphins lost to the Baltimore Ravens 27-9 in a dismal performance that showcased Pennington's weak arm. For the better part of 4 quarters, the Dolphins tried to push the ball downfield through the air. For our efforts, we were rewarded with 4 interceptions, more than half again as many as Pennington had thrown all season. These constant turnovers ensured that our season would end in another embarrassing loss to the Ravens, as it did in our last playoff exit in 2002.
Sure, you could blame our coaches, especially Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning, for calling so damn many passes. (Dan, your quarterback can't throw further than 15 yards with any accuracy. Just because your opponent leads the league in rush defense doesn't mean you should ask your quarterback to do the impossible.) If you were so inclined, you could praise the Baltimore Ravens for playing fantastic, ball-hawking defense. (After the game Ray Lewis proudly took credit for his team for creating turnovers. Ray, you wouldn't crow about taking candy from a baby, would you? Oh, right. Nevermind.)
But I won't do either of those things. I'm going to blame Pennington. I attacked Pennington when he was signed, and I'm not going to forgive him now. If anyone should have known better than to attempt some of those passes, it was Pennington himself. Once a Jet, always a Jet: now Pennington has brought a little of that late-season choke they specialize up in the Meadowlands down south to Miami. Thanks a lot, Chad.
Last week Pennington was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year for the second time. To be a two-time "comeback player," you have to go away twice first. Hopefully with this game, Pennington was sewing the seeds for his third such award.