Despite Head Coach Eric Mangini sticking with veteran Chad Pennington at QB, backup Kellen Clemens knows his number could be called at any time. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Whether Jets QB Kellen Clemens likes it or not, he is part of a quarterback controversy for the first time in his young career. While Jets head coach Eric Mangini has named Chad Pennington his starter against Philadelphia on Sunday, Clemens will have to prepare as if he is going to hear his number get called.
The Jets are 1-4 on the 2007 season and need to start winning now for any conceivable shot at the playoffs. With Jets trailing late in their last two games, Pennington threw three uncharacteristic interceptions against the Bills and Giants respectively, which inevitably clinched the game for their opponents.
In the week three loss to the Buffalo, Pennington was intercepted by Bills CB Terrance McGee while trying to get rid of the football. In last Sunday’s lost to the Giants, Pennington threw two interceptions that cost Gang Green the game. His first one came as Pennington threw off his back foot into double coverage in the red zone. The second came as Giants CB Aaron Ross jumped an out route where Pennington was looking for WR Laveranues Coles. Ross, who made the first interception, brought that one back for a touchdown and put the game out of reach at that point.
With a running game that isn’t producing or for that matter given a chance to produce, the Jets offense has had to rely on the arm of Pennington, which has undergone multiple shoulder surgeries. Even broadcasters know what teams are looking for when the Jets play. CBS analyst Randy Cross said multiple times during the telecast that opposing teams are not worried about Jets throwing the ball deep against them.
“That’s what everybody is going to say about me, I throw a light ball whatever that means. I don’t really know, but I’m not worried about it,” said Pennington.
If the Jets play Clemens it gives other teams things to think about. Clemens might not have all experience and intangibles that Pennington has, but he does have the arm strength which would force teams to respect the downfield threat.
Clemens showed his ability to find the open receiver in the fourth quarter of the Baltimore game. If he got some help from his wide receivers he might have been able to lead his team to a win. With a 1-4 record another loss will probably mean the end of Gang Green's slim playoff hopes. Quarterback is one of the few positions on the field that if changed could provide a spark for the offense, but Clemens will be the first to tell you that there is no controversy and Chad is still the starter.
“My approach from week to week no matter what the situation is to prepare the best I can and be ready if my number is called,” said Clemens. “Everyone on this team still has faith in Chad, he works very hard and he is a good quarterback.”
Despite many Jets fans calling for Kellen Clemens to start, Pennington understands that this is business and he has yet to start looking over his shoulder.
“It’s a business. I don’t take it personal. I totally understand the situation and I take full responsibility for how I’ve played in the four games,” Pennington said. “I feel really good about where I am as a quarterback and the things I need to fix are correctable. And if I can correct them, I think good things can happen.”
Remember The Titans
During Sunday’s game against the Eagles, the Jets will celebrate “Titans Throwback Day”. The Jets players will sport the original navy and gold uniforms worn by the New York Titans. Along with wearing the jersey’s, the Jets will honor four Titans - Don Maynard, Billy Mathis, Larry Grantham and John “Curley” Johnson – during a halftime ceremony. All four men were members of the Jets 1969 Super Bowl team.
Mangini’s Briefing on the Eagles
Normally during Wednesday’s press conferences coach Mangini will give the media a brief scouting report of the next team they face. This week Gang Green will take on another NFC East team. And in terms of Philadelphia, coach Mangini told the media during his 20 minute press conference that there are many similarities between the Eagles and the Giants.
Mangini said both the Eagles and the Giants have very similar defensive schemes. Defensively LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson will have another tough test as this week he draws Eagles DE Javon Kearse. Offensively the Eagles will look to RB Brian Westbrook. Westbrook missed the Giants game and with the bye week last week he got to opportunity to rest up and be ready for the Jets. As for special teams the Jets will have to worry about K David Akers and Australian punter Sav Rocca.
Clarke Just Wants a “Win”
Jets LG Adrien Clarke got his start in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now in his first game against his former team, Clarke is not looking for revenge he is just looking to execute and help his team come away with a win.
“Honestly it’s not really trying to prove anything to anybody, it’s about getting out there and getting a W,” Clarke said. “It’s going to be good to see some of the old faces and the guys I used to play with but for me it’s like every other week. It’s about executing and coming out there with a W.”
Testaverde Finds a New Home
A day after putting Oyster Bay Cove home on the market, former Jet quarterback Vinny Testaverde signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. The former No. 1 pick will backup QB David Carr. Carr assumed the responsibilities of the starter after the Panthers their original starting quarterback Jake Delhomme went down with a season ending elbow injury.
The Jets made one transaction before they hit the practice field on Wednesday. They signed CB E.J. Underwood to the practice squad while releasing CB Manny Collins from the practice squad. Underwood (6-1, 185) was signed as a free agent by Giants on May 13, 2006. Underwood, who wearing jersey number 32 with the Jets, spent the 2006 on injured reserve and he was on the Giants practice squad this season before being cut by the G-Men on Monday. Collins, who was a former Rutgers product, spent the entire 2007 season the Jets practice squad.
Limited Participation in Practice
OL Anthony Clement (Thigh), S Erik Coleman (Concussion), WR Laveranues Coles (Knee), DE Shaun Ellis (Foot), WR Justin McCareins (Ankle), QB Chad Pennington (Ankle), DT Dewayne Robertson (Knee), S Eric Smith (Thigh)
Full Participation in Practice
FB Darian Barnes (Thigh), TE Jason Pociask (Back)
Did Not Participate in Practice
S Brian Dawkins (Neck), G Todd Herremans (Knee), T Thomas Williams (Knee)
Limited Participation in Practice
WR Greg Lewis (Ankle)
Full Participation in Practice
CB Lito Sheppard (Knee), TE L.J. Smith (Hernia), RB Brian Westbrook (Abdomen)
Check back with JI later for all the latest Gang Green news.