AFC East: Tom Brandstater
Pennington told the Charleston Daily Mail he plans to skip the 2011 season while he recovers from shoulder and knee injuries and will work for Fox Sports. The two-time NFL Comeback Player of the Year, who will turn 35 next weekend, said he might consider returning to the field in 2012.
"I'm actually going to take this year off, get healthy and do some work for Fox Sports," Pennington told Daily Mail assistant sports editor Rick Stevens. "I'm going to evaluate things and see where I am physically."
Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio tweeted confirmation Saturday morning and said Pennington will be a game analyst for the network.
Pennington suffered another major injury to his throwing shoulder a few snaps into his lone Dolphins start last season. He tore a knee ligament while playing a pickup basketball game in March.
He said playing hoops was "a dumb decision. ... I haven't played [football]. I wasn't training real hard at the time because I was doing some shoulder rehab, and my legs weren't ready to play basketball. So it was just dumb."
Pennington was a free agent. So is last season's other backup quarterback, Tyler Thigpen. The only signed quarterback on the roster aside from Henne is Tom Brandstater, a third-year pro out of Fresno State who has spent time with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.
Caplan quotes an unnamed scout who says of Pryor: "You need to get him with a team willing to be very patient. Heck, I'm not so sure he's even a quarterback at this point. He's far away from being able to handle what's going to come at him at our level. You don't really see him being asked to make a lot of tough throws. That won't be the case going forward."
With that in mind, Caplan gave five appropriate places for Pryor to play quarterback. Two of the locales are in the AFC East.
Buffalo Bills: "While journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played fairly well last season, he’s in the final year of his contract. It also remains to be seen if Levi Brown, whom the Bills selected in the seventh round of last year’s draft, has a future with the team. And keep in mind, head coach Chan Gailey likes to develop mobile quarterbacks. He did a nice job of developing former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart."
Miami Dolphins: "Starter Chad Henne is in the final year of his rookie deal, and Miami doesn’t have a true developmental quarterback on its roster. Tom Brandstater, who was signed as a free agent last season, was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft by the Denver Broncos."
I agree with Caplan about the Bills. They do have a void at backup quarterback and would like to develop one for the future. Brown doesn't seem to be that guy. He wasn't good enough to make the team out of training camp or even be signed to the practice squad. The Bills didn't bring back Brown until they waived Trent Edwards in-season. Last season's primary backup, the disappointing Brian Brohm, is a free agent.
As for the Dolphins, it's hard to imagine them grabbing a player like Pryor after their experience with Pat White. The Dolphins didn't have the patience to wait around for him to develop NFL passing skills. Also consider that on the Dolphins' depth chart are Chad Pennington and Tyler Thigpen. Both are free agents, and while Pennington is recovering from knee surgery, either could be back.
In a lively news conference that featured some reporter-on-reporter jabbing over a South Florida Sun-Sentinel story that stated Henne probably was done for the season, Sparano said the Dolphins were treating him as "day to day" and said he was "hopeful" Henne could start again this year.
Henne hurt his left knee in the third quarter of Sunday's 29-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Sparano didn't give further details on Henne's status, but declined to rule him out for Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears.
That would seem unlikely. Henne left Sun Life Stadium on crutches.
Other Dolphins updates and reports from Monday:
- The Dolphins signed free-agent quarterback Patrick Ramsey and placed Pennington on injured reserve.
- Sparano didn't release names of who else worked out, but multiple reports named JaMarcus Russell, J.T. O'Sullivan, Tom Brandstater and Tommy Grady in addition to Ramsey.
- Sparano didn't seem too concerned with left tackle Jake Long's shoulder injury, stating Long managed to play after he got hurt Sunday.
- Miami Herald reporter Jeff Darlington, citing an unnamed source, tweeted outside linebacker Cameron Wake was sent home with an ice pack and a couple Advils for his sore hip. Sounds like Wake will get his chance to tee off on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who has been sacked a league-high 29 times.
Of the 11 quarterbacks selected in this weekend's draft, the New York Jets took the least-experienced in terms of game action.
Southern California star Mark Sanchez, however, comes from a pro-style offense and has played against a higher-caliber of competition that certainly puts him ahead of prospects like Ball State's Nate Davis or Mike Teel of Rutgers.
USC practices probably are more competitive than games in some conferences.
Former USC quarterback Matt Cassel didn't start a single game and led the New England Patriots to an 11-5 record last year.
But for those interested in games started, here is how this year's quarterbacks ranked:
- Mike Teel, Rutgers (42)
- Pat White, West Virginia (42)
- Curtis Painter, Purdue (41)
- Davis, Ball State (34)
- Tom Brandstater, Fresno State (34)
- Matthew Stafford, Georgia (34)
- Josh Freeman, Kansas State (32)
- Stephen McGhee, Texas A&M (30)
- Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State (29)
- Keith Null, West Texas A&M (26)
- Sanchez, USC (16)