By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
November 2nd, 2007
Yes, this is the first time since 2002 with exception to injury that a QB besides Chad Pennington will be starting for the Jets. But don't get too excited yet, Jets fans...While Kellen Clemens has shown promise, he's unproven and the team's problems stem a lot deeper than QB.
Clemens makes his debut in front of the home crowd this Sunday as the Jets take on the Washington Redskins, a team that was humilated by the Patriots last week 52-7 and will be looking to keep pace in the NFC East.
Jets head coach Eric Mangini is trying whatever he can do to spark this Jets offense, which was held to only three points in last week’s loss to Buffalo.
Mangini is hoping a shakeup at QB will help ignite a struggling offense. In Clemens first start against Baltimore, he showed a glimpse of why the Jets drafted him. Down 20-3 against the Ravens, the QB put the Jets in a position where they could have tied the game. If WR Justin McCareins held on to a last minute pass from Clemens, the Jets could have possibly walked out of Baltimore with a win.
Even though he didn’t come away with a win, he came away with experience. Something that Clemens said that was much needed and it will help him when Sunday rolls around.
“Having the experience of one start already I think definitely helps. It builds confidence in a guy with limited experience like myself,” Clemens said. “I'm looking to hopefully draw on some of that experience on Sunday.”
Clemens will need as much experience as he can get because on Sunday it looks like the second-year pro will be without one of the Jets biggest offensive weapons. WR Laveranues Coles suffered a concussion in last week’s game. Mangini did not rule Coles out for Sunday’s game despite not practicing so far this week.
“We take it as it goes. We make sure that we're going through the complete process before making any decisions on [Coles] practicing or not practicing and playing or not playing,” said Mangini.
Besides possibly not having Coles, Washington’s defense is not too shabby. Even though they gave up 52 points to the Patriots (who hasn’t this season), the Redskins have some names that have wrecked havoc in the Jets backfield before.
Clemens will have to know where on the field Redskins LB London Fletcher is at all times. Fletcher, the Redskins leading tackler this season (67 tackles), has spent his last five seasons in the Buffalo organization and is very familiar with what the Jets offensively.
Redskins Offense v Jets Defense
Gang Green will have their hands full defensively. Even though Redskins QB Jason Campbell is young, he has many weapons to give the ball to. One of those weapons is RB Clinton Portis. You got to believe that Washington head coach Joe Gibbs would want to give the ball to Portis at least 20 times. Portis hasn’t had a typical Portis year so far. Portis was placed on injured reserve last season with a hand injury. So far this year he has only totaled 433 yards on 115 carries, but the Jets have yet to show that they can stop the running game on consistent basis.
Jets Offense v Redskins Defense
With Clemens being the starter and Coles probably out of the lineup, someone will have to produce. Throughout the preseason and in the game against the Ravens, McCareins has emerged as one of Clemens favorite targets. With Clemens and McCareins doing a lot of work with the second team this off-season, the two have developed a bond.
But Mangini said this week that the Redskins secondary is very opportunistic. CB Shawn Springs is a good cover corner, while S Sean Taylor leads the team with five interceptions. Clemens, who has thrown four interceptions this season, will have to take extra-special care of the football against a very aggressive secondary like the Redskins.
Jets Special Teams v Redskins Special Teams
The Jets special teams have been very good this year. K Mike Nugent has hit six consecutive field goals, while RB/KR Leon Washington has been very effective in returning kicks. Washington is averaging almost 33 yards per kick return. The Jets kickoff coverage has also improved as the season has gone by. And with LB Matt Chatham returning to the lineup, the coverage team can only get better.
For the Redskins, K Shaun Suisham is having a decent year kicking the ball. Suisham is 7-for-10 on field goal attempts. Their return game is not a threatening. KR Rock Cartwright averages only 29 yards per return, while PR Antwaan Randle-El has only gained 102 yards on 15 punt returns.
Washington WR’s Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El v Jets CB’s Darrelle Revis and Hank Poteat
This is a very dangerous matchup. Jets fans know what Moss is capable of doing to a defense. Moss can hurt a defense by going deep or catching short passes and turning them into long gains. Randle-El is very similar to Moss. They both are very fast and both can hurt you in the same way. The difference between the two is that, Randle-El can throw the ball. Revis and Poteat will have to be ready for anything at any given moment.
The Bottom Line :The Jets need a win. Kellen Clemens finally gets his shot to show what he can do. Clemens right off the bat makes Washington respect the deep pass, which Clemens has the ability throw. But the Jets just can’t rely on the arm of Clemens. They have to show a commitment to running the ball with Thomas Jones. Jones was the best player in the first half of last week’s game, but the coaching staff for seemingly went away from Jones in the second half. In the past few weeks, Jones has looked good running the ball and if he can run the ball effectively, that will open up the passing game for Clemens and Co.
Prediction: The Jets will win 24-17 as Clemens throws two touchdown passes and show to everyone he is the real deal!
Kendall Comes Back
If you haven’t heard already former Jets offensive lineman Pete Kendall is making his way back to the Meadowlands. Kendall was in the spotlight during training camp. Kendall said he was promised a $1 million dollar increase after taking a pay cut the year before. The Jets turned the table on Kendall and said they were not going to renegotiate his contract. A media frenzy ensued. Kendall made it known publicly that after the Jets failed to give him his raise, he wanted out of New York.
Finally after their second preseason game, Kendall was finally traded. Kendall was traded for a fifth round pick (it turns into a fourth round pick if Kendall plays 80% percent of the Redskins offensive snaps). And with the Jets at 1-7, Kendall could not be any happier with his situation.
“I don’t know how I’m going to feel on Sunday. I feel a little bit excited at this point, but there is also this other emotion that I don’t know how to express,” Kendall said. “It is definitely mixed emotions about the situation and going back and playing against my friends.”
Besides Kendall, there are many other former Jets on the Redskins squad. Santana Moss, Jason Fabini, Randy Thomas (injured-triceps) and Khary Campbell will all be returning to their old stomping grounds this Sunday.
Redskins Have Been Dominating Season Series
The Redskins lead the season series between the two teams with a 7-1 record. In the last meeting between the two teams the Redskins came away with a 16-13 win on September 4, 2003. The last time the Jets beat the Redskins was on December 11, 1993, back in the day when they called RFK Stadium home. The Jets won that game by the score of 3-0. K Cary Blanchard kicked a 45-yard field goal for the Jets only points.
Injury Report (as of 11/1/07)
New York Jets
Did Not Participate in Practice
WR Laveranues Coles (concussion), OL Adrian Jones (Personal reasons)
Limited Participation in Practice
TE Chris Baker (back), DL Mike Devito (shoulder), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Full Participation in Practice
DB Abram Elam (neck), DL C.J. Mosley (shoulder), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DB Hank Poteat (chest), DB Eric Smith (thigh)
OL Randy Thomas (triceps)
Did Not Participate in Practice
OL Mike Pucillo (back)
Full Participation in Practice
RB Rock Cartwright (quad), CB Fred Smoot (hamstring), TE Todd Yoder (ankle)
Game time is at 1 p.m. on Sunday, local TV on Fox 5 and local radio on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com after the game for a complete recap!
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