Chad Pennington played his last game for the Miami Dolphins in 2009, a 23-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers that would turn out to be the last of Pennington’s 11-year NFL career. On Wednesday, Pennington was back on the Dolphins’ practice field, taking notes and talking with Ryan Tannehill and the other Dolphins quarterbacks.
Pennington spent the majority of his career in a New York Jets uniform before joining the Dolphins for his final three years. Plagued by injuries throughout his career, he made up for a perceived lack of arm strength by being one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. The more his body kept him from accomplishing, the smarter he played in order to overcome, an effort that twice earned him the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
With all of the offseason moves the Dolphins have made, bringing Pennington in to mentor Tannehill makes sense. The addition of wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson was meant to help out the second-year quarterback, as was the signing of tight end Dustin Keller, but these signings can only go so far. It will be up to Tannehill to protect the ball and deliver it to the fresh talent.
Pennington may not be able to go out on the field and throw the ball for Tannehill, but he can help the young quarterback become a more efficient passer. As long as Tannehill is willing to learn, Pennington can give him insight on reading defenses, taking what is given, knowing when to take chances and much more.
There is only so much a player can learn from the experience of another, but adding some of Pennington’s knowledge could make a big difference in Tannehill’s game. The biggest knock against Tannehill last season was his tendency to throw the ball to the opposing team, giving away the ball 13 times, while only throwing 12 touchdowns.
The Dolphins went out and added the weapons to help push Tannehill’s touchdown number up, but there is not much the team can do to cut down on his interceptions. By bringing in Pennington, Miami is doing what they can to help put their potential franchise quarterback in the best position when he takes the field this fall.
It may not seem like much, but if Tannehill takes what he learns to heart, it could mean the difference between an impressive TD/INT ratio, or another season of throwing more picks than scores.
With the amount of money the Dolphins are spending this offseason, Tannehill had better be all ears.
Jeff Everette covers the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jeverettesports, “like” his page on Facebook, “Trust” him on Sulia, or join his circles on Google+.