Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 17, 2008.
Q: How's the adjustment to the new offense down there?
CP: We'll it's exactly that, it's an adjustment. This will be my sixth week here. I'm learning everyday, trying to acquire more knowledge, gain more insight into our offense, trying to execute it better and do as much as I can to get better at it. It's been a good adjustment but it's also been different, so I just keep working through it.
Q: Does it help to have stayed in the same division? Seeing a lot of the same teams, like the Patriots?
CP: Staying in the AFC East does help with preparation for the opponent. [I have] played all these teams and seen these teams. This will be my ninth year, so I understand how each of the AFC East teams like to play, what they like to do and how they like to attack. My biggest challenge is being able to take that knowledge, apply it to our offense here, learn the details of our offense and try to make our offense work.
Q: You're going a lot to the tight ends so far in two games. Is that just because you like what you see out there or is it a reflection on your knowledge of the offense? Maybe those are easier throws right now?
CP: No. It's just that's who has been open and where the single coverage has been. I think we have two tight ends that do a great job of getting open and finding areas. The coverage as far as the single one-on-ones, have been with the tight ends, so that's where the ball has been dictated to go. I try to take each read as its own entity and get the ball to the open guy, not get focused in on one guy.
Q: As you've assimilated into this offense how much of what you've been able to do has been based upon your own natural football instincts taking over in certain instances?
CP: That's always the fine line. Trying to understand the details of the offense your working in, letting your instincts take over and just being a football player and a quarterback - trying to mesh those two things together. At the end of the day football is football and a lot of times you have the same routes and concepts, you just call them a little bit differently. But, still trying to mesh the footwork and all the different details of this offense with our plays so the timing can be a better and the efficiency can be better.
Q: You have so many people on this team that are new this year. Does that help that you're all going through this together, learning together or does that make it more complicated that so many people are learning the system?
CP: I think it helps and it makes it more complicated. When you are trying to fit so many different new parts together, we are all in this together and we're going through the same type of experiences, which is a good thing. We're learning together. But, at the same time it can make it more complicated because we're trying to learn each other not only on the field but [also] off the field. Get to know your teammates - that's so important. I think a lot of times in the game of football the relationship side is over looked and a lot of the times the results that happen with the good stats and the good numbers happens because of the relationship side, not necessarily because of the talent side.
Q: You mention relationships. You had a pretty good one with a guy on this team now, Randy Moss, when you guys were at Marshall. What do you remember most about him both as a player and as a person?
CP: He's always been an extreme competitor. It didn't matter what we were doing at Marshall whether it was a one-on-one drill, basketball over at the gym, or whatever it was. He's an extreme competitor. He wants to be the best at it and win. He's always been that way. As far as a friend, he's always been a good friend. I think he has a big heart and through the years he's started to come back to southern West Virginia and do a lot of great things there and really give back. I think he does have a big heart.
Q: Does it surprise you at all to learn that he was voted a captain of this team this year?
CP: No, not at all. I think it would surprise other people but I've known Randy for a while and I've seen the true Randy. I think some people's perception of Randy is a little off. I know as far as Randy and his heart, as far as what he wants to do and what he wants to accomplish. He's right on the money with it and it's all good.
Q: Are you surprised to learn that Randy decided to start up a truck team in NASCAR?
CP: Am I surprised? No, I'm not surprised. I think people don't realize how country he really is. Being from southern West Virginia he has a lot of country roots and things like that.
Q: Chad this is a little bit off beat, where you a captain at Marshall?
Q: Can you explain how different being a captain in the NFL is from other levels and how the responsibilities are different?
CP: I think the obvious difference is you're not dealing with college kids. You're dealing with men and professionals. How you lead, there are core characteristics in how you lead whether it's by example or what you say and what you do on and off the field. On the professional level you're dealing with men. You're dealing with men that have been in the game and understand how to be leaders and be professionals and then you're also dealing with younger players who are just learning. I think being a captain on a professional team you have to learn how to mesh those two together, your young players with your older players, get everyone to work together. The discrepancy in ages is so much different compared to college where normally you're dealing with 18 to 22 year olds in college. In the pros you can be dealing from 22 all the way up to 40, so it's a lot different.
Q: Are there any responsibilities that you have as a captain that are different than they were either in high school or in college?
CP: I think some of the responsibilities are definitely similar. It's how you deal with those responsibilities and how you handle those things. That would be the biggest difference in the type of people and the age group that you're dealing with but the similarities as far as leading by example, knowing when to speak up and address the team, knowing when not to speak up and then obviously the number one thing you have to come to play. The result on the field starts the whole process. They have to be able to depend on you physically and mentally on the field and [you] have to be able to produce.
Q: As this whole Brett Favre saga was unfolding did you ever imagine that it would have an impact on you? When you left to go to the Dolphins, did you have any anxieties about starting over again?
CP: I prepared for whatever happened in New York. I was in New York for eight years and nothing surprises you after eight years. Then, with the two weeks leading up to the decision being made, I prepared myself. I felt like I was prepared both mentally and physically to handle whatever came my way. Once the decision was made I had to take a look at what was best for me as a professional, also for my family and be able to make a sound professional decision. I felt like coming to Miami and being able to help lay the groundwork and build the foundation for what coach [Tony] Sparano wants to do. I was interested in that opportunity and excited about it.
Q: Why do you believe there might be such a high failure rate for first round quarterbacks, especially those in the top ten?
CP: I think judging talent is always at the hands of the beholder, the guy who's trying to pick the talent out. That's human opinion and we all know human opinion's vary at all different times. Also, I think the second reason is because of the situation. Sometimes, some young quarterbacks can handle being thrown in there early. Sometimes, some young quarterbacks can't handle being thrown in there early and it's a determent to them. We're dealing with the human experience. We're not dealing with robots or people that don't have feelings and emotions. That's why you see such a variance in the production of quarterbacks.
Q: What are your impressions of Jake Long?
CP: I think Jake is a big time talent. I think he's got a chance to be a mainstay in this league at left tackle. He brings so much to the table, as far as, his physical presence and what he's able to do athletically. Mentally, he has a lot of passion for this game. He wants to do well and he wants to succeed, so I'm really excited about him being here.
Q: How much of a concern for you is the Patriots pass rush, the outside guys [Adalius] Thomas and [Mike] Vrabel?
CP: They do a great job. I think what they've done a great job for the last three or four years generating a pass rush with three and four guys. Seven, eight years ago it was always with five and six guys. Now, they can do it with just three or four - being able to push the middle of the pocket and also being able to rush the edges, which allows them to play coverage behind it. It makes it tough on a quarterback. We've got our hands full. They are known to play good defense, good, solid, sound defense. They don't beat themselves and they're extremely tough, so it's a big time challenge.