Pennington optimistic about sputtering Dolphins Print
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Wednesday, 17 September 2008 21:12
NFL Headline News

 DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -For Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington, this season is like being stuck in big-city traffic at rush hour: He figures progress will eventually come.
``I'm patient,'' he said Wednesday. ``Being in New York for eight years, you've got to be patient or you won't last very long.''
Two games into the season, Pennington and the Dolphins are still waiting for their first win. They'll try again Sunday as two-touchdown underdogs at New England.
Pennington was touted as an upgrade at quarterback when he signed as a free agent Aug. 8 after being released by the New York Jets. But so far the offense has sputtered, and the Dolphins have offered little evidence they're better than last year's 1-15 team.
s, reinforcing doubts about his arm strength.
In Sunday's 31-10 loss at Arizona, Pennington was the Dolphins' second-best quarterback. Rookie Chad Henne came off the bench in the fourth quarter to direct their lone touchdown drive.
How does Pennington grade his performance so far?
``There were a lot of good things I like and am happy about, and a lot of things I need to work on,'' he said.
Leading the latter category, he said, is becoming more comfortable with the timing of his receivers' routes. That will be a season-long process, he said.
``I don't expect it just to one day click, and everything to start working perfectly,'' he said. ``I've been here six weeks. It's going to take time.''
Not too much time, coach Tony Sparano said.
``It might be a season-long process,'' Sparano said, ``but we don't have all season to wait for it.''
It's reasonable to wonder about Pennington, who was benched at midseason last year by the Jets and has lost his past eight starts. His most recent win as a starter came against the woeful Dolphins, and he won't be playing them again anytime soon.
But in fairness to Pennington, he's working with perhaps the NFL's most modestly talented receiving corps. Sparano has tried various combinations at wideout and is still waiting for a glimmer of big-play ability.
run after the catch, do something like that,'' the coach said. ``That's what I want to see.''
Even with opponents geared to stop the run, receivers have struggled to get open. No wideout has caught a pass for more than 20 yards, a reflection of Miami's inability to throw downfield.
Again, Pennington said, the issue is timing.
``It's a tough situation where we're all trying to learn each other and go through the speed bumps while you're trying to win games,'' Pennington said. ``It's just a matter of time before we really get on the same page. We're going to see glimpses of excellence, and hopefully we can build on that.''
Compounding the offensive woes is a ground game that has yet to get untracked. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown make running back Miami's deepest position, but they've totaled only 100 yards this season, averaging 2.6 per carry.
``We want to get into a rhythm, which comes with having an opportunity on a drive to touch the ball a few times,'' Brown said. ``Unfortunately we haven't been able to establish those long drives, and neither one of us is in a situation where we get those touches and get comfortable and get in a routine.''
The offense is off to an even slower start than last year. Miami has scored only 24 points and totaled 513 yards.
``We're so capable of doing so much more than we're doing,'' Brown said.
couple of big plays to jump-start the offense.
In the meantime, he said, patience is a virtue.
``Sometimes being a younger player, you can fly off the handle really quick and lose confidence,'' he said. ``My whole goal is for us as an offense to play with confidence regardless of the outcome or situation. Believe in yourself. When you do that, good things start to happen.''
 

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