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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Chad's Still Playing, Isn't He?

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Is Chad Pennington a playoff caliber quarterback? Well, he took his team to the playoffs, didn't he? So the simple answer is yes. But Pennington did more than that this year. He helped resurrect a moribund franchise. He led them to 10 more wins than the previous season. He was 4-2 in his division, helping the Dolphins win big games at New England and at the Jets.

Most importantly, Brett Favre is at home, presumably hosting a touch football game wearing a pair of dungarees, while Pennington is hosting an actual NFL playoff game. So yes, he's a playoff-caliber quarterback.

Pennington is a solid-to-good quarterback. He's not going to win many games on his own, and most likely he won't lose many either. In his career he's a 66.0% passer. He's more accurate than Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning. In fact, Pennington has the highest career completion percentage of any quarterback in this year's playoffs.

So the real question is: can Pennington avoid mistakes and take a team that won one game last season to the Super Bowl? Well, if they don't get there it shouldn't be because of him. While he's never been an adept downfield passer, Pennington doesn't throw it to the other team that often either, with just seven interceptions this season to 19 touchdown passes. In other words, don't look for big plays from Pennington for either side of the ball.

Look at the names of the quarterbacks who have gone to the Super Bowl since the last time Favre -- Pennington's replacement in New York this year -- was slinging his way into the big game.

Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Rex Grossman, Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Jake Delhomme, Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Kurt Warner, Trent Dilfer, Kerry Collins, Steve McNair and Chris Chandler. Not a lot of ugly mustard colored jackets up on this dais, no?

Sure, there are some mega-stars like Brady and Manning, but by and large the Super Bowl quarterbacks have, gulp, managed a good game and let the running game, defense or coaching lead them to glory.

So Chad, just don't screw it up and some day we may be talking about you like we talk about the likes of Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson -- in the good way.

By Dan Levy  |  January 1, 2009; 2:03 PM ET  | Category:  Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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As a Dolphins supporter, I wasn't a Pennington fan until this year. But the man is a winner.

I think the weak arm reference is over-hyped but has some truth to it. If he sets his feet, he can make the thows (just as Montana could, but not as quick, hard and fast as Marino).

The touchdown pass to Ginn last week shows that he can make the throws he needs (and that the defense gives him).

And there will be not better test of his abilities that facing a healthy Ravens defense.

Go Phins!

Posted by: obviousNESS | January 2, 2009 9:39 AM

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