Stats & Info: Chad Pennington

Vick caps unique comeback year with award

February, 5, 2011
In July of 2009, Michael Vick was in federal prison. 18-and-a-half months and 12 NFL starts later, he is picking up hardware as the AP's Comeback Player of the Year.

Michael Vick
He won the award after a season in which he set career highs in completion percentage, passing yards, passer rating, pass TD and rush TD. Vick's comeback award doesn't fit the same description as previous winners as his much-chronicled career has gone from 3-time Pro Bowler with the Atlanta Falcons to jail for running and unlawful interstate dog fighting ring and then back to the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles the last two seasons.

You have to go back to 2004 to find a player that won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award without coming off an injury or disability. That year, Drew Brees passed for over 3,000 yards for the 12-4 Chargers. The previous season, Brees started the first eight games, was benched for five and then started the last three games before the Chargers traded for Philip Rivers.

Since then, Steve Smith and Tedy Bruschi in 2005, Chad Pennington in 2006 and 2008, Greg Ellis in 2007 and Tom Brady last season, all won the award after suffering an injury or ailment the previous season. Much like Brees playing in 11 games the year before he won the award, Vick appeared in 12 games in 2009, totaling 13 pass attempts and 24 rush attempts.

So what made the post-incarcerated Vick even better than the one that played for the Falcons? He was always known as a mobile quarterback, capable of making throws on the run. But as part of his growth as a quarterback, he was one of the best in the league this season throwing inside the pocket. In fact, all of his numbers were better inside the pocket than out.

Of course, one could say that Vick's ability out of the pocket directly contributed to his growth within. This year, Vick was the ESPN's Next-level award winner for best QB outside the pocket.

Looking even deeper at the numbers that made Vick an MVP candidate in 2010 and a lock for Comeback Player of the Year - he averaged 11.1 yards per pass attempt on 3rd down with 6 or more yards to go (best in the NFL). And his 93.6 passer rating on throws of 21-yards-or-more was 3rd best in the league.
Chad Henne
Chad Pennington
The Miami Dolphins announced Chad Pennington will start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in place of Chad Henne, who is struggling in his second season as the starting quarterback.

Henne is one of five quarterbacks to throw three interceptions in a game twice this season, and has thrown a pick in six straight contests.

In fact, since the beginning of Week 3, only Drew Brees, with 12, has thrown more interceptions than the 10 Henne has thrown.

And Henne has struggled throwing to the end zone this season, which helps explain why Miami has scored only 11 offensive touchdowns this season. Only the Carolina Panthers, with eight, have scored fewer.

Pennington is 11-8 in 19 career starts with the Dolphins, throwing for more than 200 yards per game and more than twice as many touchdowns as interceptions. All of those wins came in 2008, when Pennington and the Dolphins went 11-5 and won the AFC East, their only playoff appearance in the last eight seasons.

However, Pennington has lost his last four NFL starts, including the Dolphins’ 2008 Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.