One day after being released by the New York Jets, Chad Pennington, who had spent eight seasons with the team, was signed by the Dolphins. Pennington was released by the Jets after they traded for former Green Bay Packers signal caller Brett Favre. With Pennington going to Miami and Favre to the Jets, the AFC East has suddenly become much more complicated and competitive.

chad pennington

Pennington is a fine leader and consummate veteran.

Pennington and Miami

He gives Miami a true presence in the pocket. But he must be protected. He’s been injured numerous times and sacked far too often. Pennington is not very mobile and that leaves him open to being sacked. He’s a fine short and medium route passer who is skilled and accurate when throwing to players in those routes. He has trouble airing it out and runs into trouble when he tries to do so or if he forces passes into tight coverage. His long throws tend to float and lack zip.

Favre and New York

Brett Favre is now a member of the New York Jets and that has raised the stakes in the AFC East. Favre brings more than a veteran presence to the Jets. He’s a mythical figure who comes to a franchise with its own mythical qualities. The Jets played the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl that finally made the AFL equal to the NFL as New York defeated Baltimore in the third Super Bowl 16-7.

Favre offers smarts, a huge competitive edge and a quick release. He’s a playmaker, whose willingness to take a risk can make or break a game. The veteran has stamina, a great arm and immense leadership qualities. But his New York frontline is suspect and that can certainly hurt someone like Favre who is fairly immobile. Last season, the Green Bay offensive line gelled and was solid.

Brady and New England

The New England Patriots are still the front runner when it comes to winning the AFC East and the entire conference. Tom Brady combines the positive qualities of Pennington and Favre with youth, exceptional intelligence and an over the top work ethic. His durability is undeniable and he also has a preeminent frontline with which to work. Finally, Brady has won three Super Bowls, while Favre has one and Pennington none.

Edwards and Buffalo

Lost in all of this is second-year QB Trent Edwards of the Buffalo Bills. Last season, he completed 151 of 269 throws (56%) for a total of 1,630 yards and seven touchdowns. He threw eight picks. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2007. Edwards, who is a fine leader and good decision maker, also possesses an excellent work ethic. He has developed his arm strength in the off-season and should be even more productive in 2008. The Bills’ frontline has been upgraded and should offer him more protection.

AFC East

Despite all of the movement, the edge still goes to the Pats and Tom Brady. The Buffalo Bills don’t have the depth that’s needed to contend. Miami lacks the essentials to be better than average. The Jets could be a true nemesis for the Patriots if Favre can stay healthy. But his line is suspect. New England will take the conference and the Jets will win a Wild Card spot. Miami, which will do better than last season, will finish last and the Bills will still be third.

Paul mroczka
Sports Pundit member

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