INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 31st, 2007
That is what Jets fans are wondering about their newly appointed starting QB Kellen Clemens.
On Monday, Jets head coach Eric Mangini decided to name Clemens the starter over Chad Pennington. For nearly one month now, Jets fans have been calling for Clemens to get his chance. And now he will.
Mangini said on Monday that Pennington didn’t lose his starting job, but Clemens earned his opportunity despite not playing as well as he hoped in the final three minutes of the Buffalo game.
Mangini and rest of the coaching staff have been pleased with the way Clemens has emerged, especially the way he has practiced, since his first career start against Baltimore. Mangini took notice to Clemens improving in every aspect of his game.
“I really like the way he’s improved in terms of his huddle procedure, his ability to come to the line of scrimmage, read the defense, see what they’re in, get us into the right check, get us out of the wrong check, and operate the no-huddle,” Clemens said.
And for Clemens it is a certainty that he is even more ready for his start this Sunday, than he was for his start in Baltimore. For starters, he didn’t know he was starting against the Ravens until he ran out on the field. But for this week, Clemens has already been named the starter. Even though, the Jets lost that game against the Ravens, Clemens gained some great experience, which he says will help him come Sunday.
“Having the experience of one start already, I think it definitely helps,” said Clemens. “It builds confidence in a guy with limited experience like myself. I’m looking to hopefully draw on some of that experience on Sunday.”
The most important thing Clemens will have to do just like his protégé Pennington, is run the team in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. Pennington is one of the best natural leaders in the NFL and is very well respected by his teammates for his leadership skills he possesses.
“I’ve had the privilege of watching Chad over the last year and a half. I watched him get us into good plays, where as sometimes we didn’t have the best play,” Clemens said. “So, I’ve hopefully learned quite a bit from him.”
Clemens can only hope Pennington will learn something too, by watching him.
Coles Misses Practice
WR Laveranues Coles missed practice on Wednesday and during Coach Mangini’s conference call with the Washington media, he said that Coles suffered a concussion in Sunday's game. Coles only had one catch in the loss to the Bills. After his catch, Coles was drilled by Bills cornerback Terrance McGee. Coles laid motionless on the ground after the catch, but he was able to walk off the field on his own power. Mangini and Coles did not comment on the injury and his status for this Sunday’s game against the Redskins has been undetermined.
Along with Coles, OL Adrian Jones also missed practice today due to personal reasons according to Mangini…During punt coverage drills P Ben Graham shanked two kicks, making reporters run for cover and having players hoping their cars didn’t get hit…During that same drill RB Leon Washington dropped a punt and then ran his penalty lap…In the last part of the 30-min segment of practice open to the media, QB Chad Pennington showed the media he can still throw despite being headed toward the bench. While taking second team reps, Pennington was working with the wide receivers and airing balls out. Pennington threw perfect spirals, along completing deep down field passes to WR’s Jerricho Cotchery and Justin McCareins.
McCareins’ Back on Board
WR Justin McCareins has been non-factor in the Jets offense this season. With the emergence of WR Brad Smith, McCareins has been dropped to fourth on the Jets depth chart. But with Clemens starting this week and Coles possibly missing this week as well, Week 9 could be the chance for McCareins to step out of the Mangini’s doghouse and on to the field.
In week two, McCareins dropped a couple of passes that could have resulted in game-tying touchdowns for the Jets. Ever since then, McCareins has been used sparingly in the Jets offensive attack.
But in the preseason, McCareins and Clemens seemed to gel. Clemens threw two touchdown passes to McCareins in the Green-White Scrimmage early in the year at Fordham University. Clemens and McCareins even connected for a touchdown in a preseason loss against the Vikings.
McCareins credits working with the second team during the summer and throughout training camp helped the two men develop that bond. It is bond similar to one Pennington has with Coles.
“It’s just one of those things, we got a little bit of a relationship going,” McCareins said. “I think he understands where I am going to be and I understand how he is going to throw the ball.”
Bender’s Getting His Chance
OL Jacob Bender made his NFL debut last Sunday as he was in as part of the offensive line during the Jets lone field goal attempt. With Mangini promising change, Bender is one player that might benefit from the changes Mangini makes. LT Adrien Clarke has been struggling of late and Mangini might want to see what Bender can do.
Growing up Bender said he was a big Redskins fan. Bender grew up in Mayo, Maryland. His parents were in New York for the Buffalo game and they plan to be here for Sunday’s game.
But besides Bender, Mangini said that OL’s Will Montgomery and Wade Smith could also be candidates to see more playing time.
“There’s been changes over the course of the last three or four week,” said Mangini. “We’ll go through the course of the week like we always do and put together the best five.”
Davis is happy to be back
One of the Jets loudest guys in the locker room is back on the practice squad. WR Chris Davis was re-signed to the practice squad. To make room for Davis, the Jets released LB Jerry Mackey from the practice squad. Davis is very well liked in the locker room. He is always seen cracking jokes and messing around with the lineman.
Mangini gave no new information about the knee injury of LB Jonathan Vilma. Mangini told reporters that the fourth year linebacker has not yet undergone surgery. Vilma participated in a conference call with reporters yesterday, but did not give any information about his knee. It is against team policy for players to discuss injuries. Vilma was seen on Sunday favoring his right knee.
New York Jets
Did Not Participate in Practice
WR Laveranues Coles (Concussion), OL Adrian Jones (personal)
Limited Participation in Practice
TE Chris Baker (Back), DL Mike DeVito (shoulder), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Full Participation in Practice
S Abram Elam (neck), DL C.J. Mosley (shoulder), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), CB Hank Poteat (chest), S Eric Smith (thigh)
OL Randy Thomas (triceps)
Limited Participation in Practice
TE Todd Yoder (ankle)
Full Participation in Practice
RB Rock Cartwright (Quad), CB Fred Smoot (Hamstring)