At his Wednesday press conference, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano announced that he is benching starting QB Chad Henne this Sunday against the Titans and that backup Chad Pennington will start in his place.
"After making long evaluations on all details involved, what I have decided to do here as we move forward is that this week Chad Pennington is going to be the starting quarterback," Sparano said. "I took a lot of things into consideration and weighed a lot of options."
The Dolphins have a 4-4 record, including 0-3 at Sun Life Stadium. Henne has thrown 10 interceptions in the eight games, including three in the Week Nine loss at Baltimore and nine in the past five games.
"This is not an indictment of Chad Henne at all," Sparano added. "It is not an indictment of his future. I do believe this player has gotten an awful lot better, certainly come two-fold from where he was to where he is right now. At this particular time, it's something I feel this is something I need to do for our football team."
The Dolphins' four victories have all come on the road, with narrow home losses to the Jets and Steelers sandwiched around a blowout loss on Monday night in Week Four to the Patriots.
Pennington, who has had multiple surgeries to his throwing shoulder over the years, was the starter before Henne replaced him early in the 2009 season after he again injured his shoulder. He started all 16 games for Miami in 2008, overseeing a remarkable one-year turnaround from 1-15 to 11-5 and an AFC East title. The Dolphins lost in the wild-card round of the playoffs to the Ravens.
The way we see it
Pennington is an 11-year veteran who might not have the strongest arm, but he's a cerebral QB who manages a game well and won't make the kinds of mistakes that led Sparano to bench Henne.
This comes off as a desperate move to attempt to salvage a season that could slip away from the team, with strong teams in the Jets and Patriots ahead of them in the AFC East. With back-to-back home games against the Titans and Bears, the Dolphins need to win both to stay in the playoff hunt.