AFC West: Chad Pennington

Thigpen gets a new chance in Miami

September, 29, 2009
9/29/09
3:57
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


The Kansas City Chiefs' decision to trade reserve quarterback Tyler Thigpen to Miami for an undisclosed draft pick should be a good deal for everyone involved.

  Thigpen
The Chiefs get an extra draft pick. The Dolphins get a player with starting experience, and Thigpen gets a chance for new NFL life.

The Chiefs had been considering trading Thigpen for about a month. They had a surplus at quarterback and Thigpen was the No. 3 on the depth chart. A move was expected now that starter Matt Cassel is healthy. The team had four quarterback as insurance when Cassel was recovering from a knee injury. Now, Brodie Croyle and Matt Gutierrez are the backups in Kansas City.

Thigpen seemed like the odd man out when the Chiefs’ new brass decided to go with Croyle as the No. 2 quarterback. Kansas City was seemingly waiting for another team to come calling after it lost a quarterback to injury. That is exactly what happened. Chad Pennington was lost for the season and the Dolphins needed a quarterback. Thigpen was one of the best options available. The Dolphins and Chiefs finalized the deal around lunchtime Tuesday.

Thigpen is an intriguing player. He moved the ball when he started in the second half of last season. But he’s not a great fit for most systems. He is a freelancer who seems suited for the spread offense. Thigpen has his weak spots and he throws his share of interceptions. But he is a dangerous scrambler and he can move the chains.

Last December, then-Kansas City star tight end Tony Gonzalez said it would be a “disgrace” if Kansas City didn’t give Thigpen a chance to start in 2009. He felt that strongly about him.

But, of course, a lot has changed in Kansas City since then. There is a new regime and Thigpen never appeared to be in the team’s plans.

His agent is happy for the new chance.

“We appreciate the opportunity the Chiefs gave us and ... we’re excited about this opportunity,” Thigpen’s agent, Joel Turner, said. “Bill Parcells is the godfather of NFL personnel men. For him to want Tyler shows he sees something in him as a quarterback.”

Looking back at No. 18

April, 21, 2009
4/21/09
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Next up on the AFC West draft rewind is No. 18, which is held by Denver:

The No. 18 Pick Since 1999
Year Team Player Pos. School Comment
2008 Baltimore Joe Flacco QB Delaware Flacco had an excellent rookie season and looks like a keeper.
2007 Cincinnati Leon Hall CB Michigan Hall still has a chance to develop into a solid player.
2006 Dallas Bobby Carpenter LB Ohio State Carpenter has never broken out as the Cowboys had hoped.
2005 Minnesota Erasmus James DE Wisconsin James was an enormous bust.
2004 New Orleans Will Smith DE Ohio State Smith has been a very solid NFL player.
2003 Arizona Calvin Pace DE Wake Forest Pace has been a productive player.
2002 Atlanta T.J. Duckett RB Michigan State Duckett never became a standout runner.
2001 Detroit Jeff Backus OT Michigan He gave the Lions decent productivity.
2000 New York Jets Chad Pennington QB Marshall Pennington hasn't been fancy, but he has enjoyed a very solid NFL career.
1999 Oakland Matt Stinchcomb OT Georgia He was decent, not spectacular.

I ranked the quarterbacks

March, 20, 2009
3/20/09
6:29
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

I played along with our quarterbacking ranking feature.

It was an interesting exercise. I learned it's a pretty good league for quarterbacks these days. Some of the players I had ranked low are quality players and are winners.

Here's my list:

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: Manning may be the best quarterback ever to play.

2. Tom Brady, New England: OK, Brady is 1b.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Big Ben isn't pretty, but he's a winner.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans: Brees has had his share of doubters. Not anymore. He's got the goods.

5. Philip Rivers, San Diego: Rivers is a winner. End of story.

6. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati: A good quarterback in a lousy situation.

7. Jay Cutler, Denver: He is not elite yet, but he's on his way.

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta: What he accomplished as a rookie was astounding.

9. Tony Romo, Dallas: He may need to focus better, but he's a big-league talent.

10. Kurt Warner, Arizona: A future Hall of Famer.

11. Eli Manning, New York Giants: Peyton's little brother has proven he can win.

12. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: He isn't perfect, but McNabb's a solid player.

13. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle: Hasselbeck is a gamer.

14. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: He'll be a Pro Bowler by 2010.

15. Chad Pennington, Miami: A gutsy, hard-nosed player.

16. Matt Cassel, Kansas City: We'll see how he does outside of the Patriots' bubble.

17. Trent Edwards, Buffalo: He has a chance to be very good.

18. Joe Flacco , Baltimore: He has a chance to move up this list quickly.

19. Jason Campbell, Washington: This is a big year for him.

20. Matthew Stafford: Detroit may be wise to take him with the top pick.

21. Matt Schaub, Houston: I expect a big year from him.

22. Mark Sanchez: He has a chance for fast success.

23. Jake Delhomme, Carolina: He's slipping, but he's had a nice career.

24. Kerry Collins, Tennessee: He's finishing his career strong.

25. Jeff Garcia: He still has something left in the tank.

26. Brady Quinn, Cleveland: He will move up this list soon.

27. David Garrard, Jacksonville: He doesn't make many mistakes.

28. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota: He's still raw and he needs to improve.

29. Marc Bulger, St. Louis: The end is near.

30. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland: The jury is still out, but he hasn't been impressive yet.

31. Derek Anderson, Cleveland: He needs a fresh start.

32. Kyle Orton, Chicago: He's just so-so.

33. Shaun Hill, San Francisco: Same with this guy.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Before tonight's game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, I presented some storylines to follow.

This is how they played out:

Miami Dolphins

Q: How does RB Ricky Williams respond to being the feature back for at least the first half? RB Ronnie Brown is out with an injured right thumb.

A: Williams was a mixed bag. He looked like his old self to begin the opening drive with a 21-yard gust and an 8-yard carry to the Chiefs' 4-yard line. Williams used to be money from that close, but he couldn't punch it in on four tries. On his last carry of the series, the Dolphins were on the 1-yard line, but Williams was forced out of bounds for a loss of four yards.

After the game, he seemed to take offense to my line of questioning on the subject.

"I'm the running back, and it's my job to try and get the ball in the end zone," Williams said. "You always want to score six points when you get down there, but I thought we did a good job of running the ball down there. We took 10 minutes of the clock and we put our defense in a good position. Ideally, we want to score, but we'll get it ironed out."

Take away his 21-yard run and Williams ran 11 times for 26 yards, a 2.4-yard average.

Q: Does QB Chad Pennington continue to show progress in learning the Dolphins' system?

A: You betcha. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has been coy about his plans for the starting quarterback job, suggesting rookie Chad Henne might have a shot at it.

But Pennington was sharp again. He played four series, with the Dolphins scoring 10 points. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 111.5.

Henne completed only two of his seven attempts for 14 yards and threw an interception for Miami's first turnover of the preseason.

Q: Does WR Ernest Wilford, who could be in jeopardy of not making the 53-man roster, make his presence felt?

A: Wilford did not. He played almost the entire second half and didn't have the ball thrown his direction, although the Dolphins attempted only nine passes in the second half.

Q: What will OLB Joey Porter look like? He's dealing with multiple injuries that have the Dolphins concerned.

A: Porter looked decent in his limited time. He started the game and sacked Brodie Croyle for a 7-yard loss on third down at the end of the first quarter.

Q: Can rookie K Dan Carpenter continue to acquit himself since the Dolphins cut proven veteran Jay Feely?

A: Carpenter made a 19-yard field goal in the first quarter, keeping him perfect on seven preseason attempts. He also made two extra points. His kickoffs went to the 12, 2, goal line, goal line, 1-yard into end zone, goal line.

Kansas City Chiefs

Q: Can Brodie Croyle continue to establish himself as a worthy starter? The Chiefs have scored only 13 points in Croyle's three quarters of preseason work so far.

A: Croyle had a miserable night, and he admitted as much. He was 12 of 21 for 110 yards and one interception. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble.

"It as a setback, obviously," Croyle said. "We wanted to go out and have a good showing, score points and win the game. We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first half."

Damon Huard didn't do any better. He completed three of his seven passes for 26 yards and one interception. He was sacked twice. Tyler Thigpen also threw an interception on five attempts with no completions.

"It's pretty tough when you don't score any points and you turn the ball over like we did," Huard said.

Q: Which kicker will put his best foot forward? Nick Novak and Connor Barth are dueling for the job, and the Chiefs reportedly want to name their guy before the final preseason game.

A: Novak had the only attempt. His 48-yard try sailed wide right, but he was kicking from a weird spot where the dirt behind what would be second base meets the grass on the field where the Florida Marlins play.

"I thought Novak would have made that one," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "It would have been nice if he made that. So we're still evaluating."

Q: Will the reworked defensive line make any noise against a young Dolphins front that includes two rookies? DE Turk McBride is having an impressive preseason, and first-round pick DT Glenn Dorsey is under the microscope.

A: The Chiefs didn't record a sack. The stats will show the Dolphins ran 31 times for 164 yards, but that includes three kneel-downs at the end of the game and an 80-yard run by Jalen Parmele.

Dorsey had three tackles, including one for a loss.

Storylines from Chiefs-Dolphins

August, 23, 2008
8/23/08
7:54
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- We're a few minutes from kickoff under the South Florida gloaming. Here are a few storylines to follow during tonight's preseason game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.

This is the third weekend, meaning both teams should use their first-teamers throughout the first half and maybe beyond.

Miami Dolphins

  • How does RB Ricky Williams respond to being the feature back for at least the first half? RB Ronnie Brown is out with a injured right thumb.
  • Does QB Chad Pennington continue to show progress in learning the Dolphins' system?
  • Does WR Ernest Wilford, who could be in jeopardy of not making the 53-man roster, make his presence felt?
  • What will OLB Joey Porter look like? He's dealing with multiple injuries that have the Dolphins concerned.
  • Can rookie K Dan Carpenter continue to acquit himself since the Dolphins cut proven veteran Jay Feely?

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Can Brodie Croyle continue to establish himself as a worthy starter? The Chiefs have scored only 13 points in Croyle's three quarters of preseason work so far.
  • Which K will put his best foot forward? Nick Novak and Connor Barth are dueling for the job, and the Chiefs reportedly want to name their guy before the final preseason game.
  • Will the reworked defensive line make any noise against a young Dolphins front that includes two rookies? DE Turk McBride is having an impressive preseason, and first-round pick DT Glenn Dorsey is under the microscope.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

It is for the best that Chad Pennington signed with the Miami Dolphins and not the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs interest in Pennington, which was likely lukewarm at best, was understandable. Anytime the head coach has a relationship with an available player, he should investigate.

However, the Chiefs have a plan not to sign any 30-plus players and they should stick with it. Pennington, who the Chiefs liked as a backup, would not have changed the Chiefs' fortunes for the short term and he would not have made an impact in the long run.

His presence could have had a negative impact starter Brodie Croyle. The worst thing a young quarterback can have is the pressure of a veteran breathing down his neck. In the end, the Chiefs were smart by thinking about Pennington, but ultimately not aggressively pursuing him.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Apparently the Chiefs' interest in former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington is only as a backup. If that is true, then Pennington will likely not go there

With potential starting assignments in Miami, Minnesota and Chicago, Pennington likely wouldn't go anywhere as a backup. Sure, he and Kansas City coach Herman Edwards have a long history together and share a strong relationship. But the difference from playing to sitting on the bench far outweighs a strong personal connection.

Also, the Chiefs' interest in Pennington only as a backup reaffirms their commitment to Brodie Croyle. That is likely only strengthened after Croyle's strong preseason debut in Chicago Thursday night. Expect Croyle to play better in training camp and in the preseason after both a strong performance against the Bears and after the news that the Chiefs are only interested in Pennington as a backup.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a good recap of what the Chiefs were saying after their win over Chicago in the preseason opener Thursday night.

I found the comments made by coach Herm Edwards interesting. The Chiefs appear happy with their play in the first game. There were many youngsters working for Kansas City Thursday night and it could be a long season.

But it was a promising preseason start by the Chiefs. I will check in on the Chiefs a little later, focusing on their pursuit of Chad Pennington.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Miami Herald is reporting that the Chiefs are interested in quarterback Chad Pennington.
This will be interesting to follow.

There is a connection between Pennington and the Chiefs. He played for Herman Edwards for five years with the Jets, who cut him Thursday after trading for Brett Favre.

Still, the Chiefs are committed to a youth movement, so signing Pennington, 32, would stray from that plan

Reportedly, six teams are interested in Pennington. Because of the glut of interest and that fact the teams are all playing this weekend, there is a chance no movement occurs until after the end of the weekend or early next week.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

We will see how committed the Chiefs are to their plan of not bringing in 30-plus players.

They could be tempted to stray from that mantra. The Jets will likely cut ties with quarterback Chad Pennington as soon as today as a result of New York acquiring Brett Favre. Pennington, 32, played for Chiefs coach Herman Edwards from 2001-'05 when Edwards was the head coach of the Jets. The two had a good relationship

In addition, one could argue that the Chiefs could use a quarterback. They are committed to seeing if Brodie Croyle is the quarterback of the future, but he is no sure thing. Pennington could provide nice insurance. It makes sense.

Still, it may be difficult for Kansas City to pull the trigger on an older player. The Chiefs want to totally rebuild with youth. The team also likes Tyler Thigpen as the backup to Croyle. Thigpen is a running quarterback who fits Chan Gailey's scheme.

Thus, while there are reasons for the Chiefs to bring in Pennington, there are also reasons for Kansas City to stick to its plan.

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