Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

With much of the sports world glued to their TV sets this morning, looking for any insight into what the NBA’s crazy free agent class is going to do, here at Phins Phocus the start of July simply means that training camp is right around the corner. So without further ado, let’s get the first installment of this year’s training camp preview underway.

What better position to start with than quarterback? How good the offense can be is invested heavily into if Chad Henne can take that next step as a quarterback. And with four quarterbacks on the roster, this year’s camp is sure to produce a heated battle for that final roster spot.

Locks

Chad Henne: Although, this is without a doubt Henne’s team now, this year’s camp will be crucial, as all eyes will be looking to see if he is ready to become a franchise quarterback. All indications suggest that Brandon Marshall will be ready to roll at the start of camp, so developing a chemistry and a rhythm with his new go-to target will be a must. Sparano recently praised Henne’s efficiency during OTA’s and minicamps this spring, but looking back to last year, he had a bit of a rough camp, especially in the two-minute drill. That better not be the case this August.

Chad Pennington: The front office thought what Pennington brings to the table as an insurance policy and a mentor, was enough to bring him back to Miami. Many envision him as player/coach, who eventually takes over as quarterback’s coach when his playing days are over. Those days may be over sooner than Pennington is willing to admit, with yet another shoulder surgery that likely weakened an already “noodle” arm. Still though, Pennington wants to play beyond 2010, but doesn’t want to rush back, and is comfortable playing behind Tyler Thigpen as the Dolphins’ third quarterback. There have been rumors he is headed for the PUP list to start the season though, which could open things up for the Dolphins keeping four quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster.

Possible Cuts

Tyler Thigpen: What Thigpen did in relief for Chad Henne in Week 17 against the Steelers last year, has significantly boosted his stock. Thigpen led the Dolphins on an inspired comeback, that ultimately fell short with two picks on his account, but it was obvious how much more capable he was than Pat White. He’s a good athlete with a solid arm, and is about as safe as a possible cut can be, in my opinion. Actually, he is more likely to be traded than cut, but he’s probably a little too valuable to be dealt for a late-round pick.

Pat White: Could the Dolphins really cut White, one season after investing a second-round pick in him? Well, this regime has been willing to admit their mistakes in the past, releasing free agent acquisitions like Gibril Wilson and Ernest Wilford, so I believe they plan on keeping the best players around, regardless of where they were drafted or how much cash is invested in them. Even though reports suggest that White has put on some muscle this offseason, as he has been as dedicated as any in the weight room, he didn’t give us any reason to think he can actually be a NFL quarterback last season. He may still be of use in the “Wild Pat” package, but will his value on two to three plays a game really be enough to beat out a quality backup with starting potential? Who’s to even say the Dolphins haven’t gave up on the package all together.

Predictions

Depth Chart:

1. Chad Henne
2. Tyler Thigpen
3. Pat White

PUP list: Chad Pennington

If Dolphins run the “Wild Pat”

1. Chad Henne
2. Pat White-listed as second so he can sub in exclusively to run the “Wild Pat”
3. Tyler Thigpen-in the event Henne goes down, would play ahead of White as an actual quarterback

Cuts:

None at first. Whenever Pennington is activated though, Pat White will be either cut or traded.

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