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Pennington impresses new teammates at first practice with Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. -- Chad Pennington worked overtime in his first practice with the Miami Dolphins.

After a workout that lasted almost two hours, Pennington remained inside the team's practice bubble for about 20 extra minutes to work on routes with tight ends and wide receivers.

Pennington, cut by the New York Jets to make room for Brett Favre last week, began playing catch-up with his new team Monday.

As Dolphins coach Tony Sparano hinted before practice, Pennington got the bulk of the work in 11-on-11 drills. He took 28 of the 54 snaps, with rookie Chad Henne getting 21. Veteran Josh McCown and second-year quarterback John Beck split the rest.

"Did we even practice?" Pennington joked afterward. "It went by real fast. It was like a blur. I remember when I was a rookie and everything is just a blur. It wasn't a blur from the defensive side because I could actually see what was going on defensively, but just trying to recall the information and my responsibilities as quarterback with each play, it went by pretty fast."

Pennington completed 13 of 21 passes during team drills. He connected with tight end David Martin for a touchdown pass on a fade route, but also was intercepted in a red-zone drill by cornerback Andre Goodman.

"I never like throwing interceptions," Pennington said. "I take big pride in protecting the football, especially in the red zone. I'll clean that up, work on that mistake."

Despite the interception, Goodman was impressed with what he saw from Pennington.

"The ball comes out on time," said Goodman. "If you ask every guy what we see out of Chad, that ball comes out on time. Receivers turn their heads and it's almost hitting them in the face sometimes. It's amazing to see that on day one."

It is still unclear if Pennington will start -- or even play -- in Miami's second preseason game Saturday night at Jacksonville. But players said they were impressed with how Pennington took charge in the huddle and don't think he will need long to get ready.

"A heck of a leader," said guard Justin Smiley. "I mean, he doesn't know any of us from the man on the moon right now, but he comes into the huddle and says, 'Give me your eyes.' We didn't break the huddle good one time and he was like, 'Nah, nah, nah. Next time, we've got to stand and break the huddle.' Just stuff a veteran with great leadership (would do). It's pretty exciting."

Pennington had a little head start.

He spent his rookie season with the Jets in 2000 playing under offensive coordinator Dan Henning, who now calls the plays for Miami.

But after spending his first eight years with the Jets, Pennington is still learning how his new team operates -- even little things like knowing where to go after each practice period.

"I felt like my little 4 year old going to his first football camp, having no idea where to go or what to do," Pennington said. "I'll work to get the logistics of how we do things and make it a little easier on me."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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