Kellen Clemens' honeymoon is over. Jets fans want to see results. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
QB Kellen Clemens surely now understands how QB Chad Pennington must have been feeling earlier in the season. With a 1-3 record as a starter, Clemens will need to open it up this week against Miami as the Jets start getting ready for next season.
Clemens is coming off his worse performance as professional on Thursday against Dallas where he went 12-for-27 for 142 yards (including one interception returned for a touchdown) and a dismal 45.6 quarterback rating.
When he was named the starting quarterback nearly a month ago, many Jets fans believed that Pennington was the problem and inserting Clemens would cure all ill’s. There was also talk the young QB's arm strength would be very dangerous weapon for opposing defenses to defend against.
But that hasn’t been the case.
Clemens has been anything but a savior. In fact, if he didn’t get a seven sack effort from his defense against the Steelers, he probably would be a 0-4 as a starter. On the other hand, he's has faced four of the elite defenses the NFL has to offer (Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh and Dallas).
So far, his numbers are worse than Pennington’s. Pennington had a 67% completion rate, compared to 49.1% percent of Clemens. Pennington also has the better passer rating (87.5) and a better touchdown to interception ratio (9 TD’s/ 7 INT’s) than Clemens. Clemens has a quarterback rating of 56.9 and has only three touchdown passes to go along with six interceptions.
The move to Clemens had to be made eventually. But now with a few starts under his belt, the youngster has to start putting up better numbers and results and prove he's a starting NFL QB
At 2-9, playoff dreams for Gang Green are long gone and all that is left are five games to evaluate the team for next season. Many players in different positions will have to make a case for themselves; but Clemens has to make the biggest case.
On Sunday when the Jets take on the winless Dolphins (0-10 although they have a game tonight at Pittsburgh), Clemens will need a very good performance. Head coach Eric Mangini has been pleased with his young QB's leadership and poise on the field. But like Jets fans everywhere he needs to see results.
“There were some times that I thought he’s made good decisions,” said Mangini. “Each game’s important and each game’s important for everybody involved. We’re looking at different things throughout the course of the game. It’s not unique to Kellen. It’s across the board.”
Even though the Dolphins defense has some play-makers, it's a unit that can be exploited. Earlier this season the Jets put up 31 points against Miami which is vulnerable to the big play.
If Clemens continues to play poorly and Jets as a team continue to flounder, the team will have really ponder what do at their quarterback situation. Do they go and try to acquire a proved winner or start from scratch and draft another QB in the upcoming draft? Could they also go back to Chad Pennington?
But some players in the Jets locker room have come to the defense of Clemens saying he is not reason why the Jets are 2-9 and the answer to the Jets problems is in the locker room.
“He is a guy that has a lot of confidence in himself and a lot of confidence in his ability. He has to great ability. He can do some great things in this league. He will be fine,” says WR Jerricho Cotchery. “We have to hold ourselves accountable. The offense has to do our job and help the man next to us. If we do that we will be better in all the areas.”
TE Chris Baker echoed Cotchery’s sentiments.
“He has done a good job. It is still really early in his career, so he is going to have good times and bad times. He is doing a really good job. We need to pick up the play around him to help him out,” said Baker. “We need to establish the running game. Any quarterback, especially a young quarterback, their best friend is the running game. We need to pick up that part of our game, protect him and get open. It is a collective effort on offense.”
Quarterback is Not Only Concern
Another position that Mangini will heavily is left guard. Ever since LG Pete Kendall left via trade during training camp, left guard has been a glaring hole in the Jets offensive line. OL Adrien Clarke has started all 11 games at left guard, but lately has been sharing time with OL Will Montgomery, who has been impressing Mangini during practice.
“Like in a lot of areas, there’s been times where (protection) has been very good,” said Mangini. “But you need to be able to carry it over to the next game. It can’t be one game where it’s positive and the next game where you regress.”
Mangini Pleased with Revis’ Effort
When Mangini was asked about the play of his rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis an overwhelming smile came on to the face of the head coach. Mangini confirmed what was originally thought, that he was pleased about how Revis made Dallas WR Terrell Owens a non-factor for most of the game.
“I thought he did a really good job. I thought he played aggressive throughout the course of the game,” said Mangini about the play of Revis. “He really did a nice job with his jams at the line of scrimmage. There was no sense of, I’m a rookie, you’re a Pro-Bowl player, or any of sort that of inherent tentativeness that you may find.”
Mangini did say that on Owens’ touchdown, Revis made one slight technical error that allowed Owens to haul in the touchdown and he would have liked to see Revis come away the interception in the first half where Romo threw the ball directly at Revis.
Not Watching Tonight’s Game
Many Jets were asked if they were going to watch tonight Dolphins-Steelers game and many said no. RG Brandon Moore said he and his wife like to watch other shows on Monday nights, while S Kerry Rhodes said unless he’s playing or watching tape he doesn’t want to see any part of football.
Jets to face old foe
The Jets will likely face veteran RB Ricky Williams this weekend as he has been named the starter for tonight's game against Pittsburgh due to an injured Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chapman. Williams was just re-instated last week after being out of the NFL for nearly 2 years due to drug infractions. It's unlknown what type of shape he's in but we should find out tonight.
Throwing back again
The Jets will wear again their 1960 NY Titans throwback away uniforms this week in Miami. They wore their home throwbacks in October against Philly.
The Jets practiced in the bubble today as Will Smith’s hit song “Miami” played in the background. Coles did dress for practice but did not participate in bag drills with the rest of the receivers nor did he run any pass patterns during 20-min viewing of practice allowed to media. Coles said he felt mentally prepared to play on Thursday but physically he wasn’t. Although the team had off the past three days and many players went out of town, Coles spent weekend at the Jets facility getting treatment on the ankle, but would not say if he would be ready for Sunday. Other than that everything else was status-quo during practice.