Who will it be? It's 48 hours before the Jets first pre-season game. Do we know who the starter is? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
As quarterback Kellen Clemens faced reporters following today’s practice, he was faced with the one question resonating around Weeb Ewbank Hall: “Who’s starting at quarterback on Thursday?” Clemens thought for a second and replied, “I think they just signed him to a multi-year deal. Isn’t Derek going to start for Cleveland?” Clemens was obviously talking about Browns quarterback Derek Anderson, who signed a three-year, $24 million contract in February.
But what remains to be seen around Jets camp is which quarterback will start Thursday’s preseason opener in green and white. During Eric Mangini’s pre-practice press conference at Hofstra, the Jets' head coach explained that he has yet to decide on a starter.
“Not yet. What I’ll do with that is, because there’s a lot of factors that go into that, I’ll get together post-practice, watch the tape,” Mangini said. “I’ll spend some time with Mike [Tannenbaum], with the staff, see what their input is and then make a decision after that.”
With the quarterback quandary still up in the air, both Clemens and Chad Pennington were mistake-free but had relatively quiet afternoons on the practice field. Both quarterbacks held onto the football, but neither stood out. As the team moved into 7-on-7 drills, Clemens’ afternoon got off to a shaky start. With tight end Dustin Keller open in the back of the endzone, Clemens sailed a pass over the rookie’s head. However, Clemens rebounded on his next throw, as he hit wide receiver Chansi Stuckey on a slant pattern for a ten-yard touchdown.
Clemens’ finest throw came in the 11-on-11 drills. With the ball at the ten-yard line, Clemens fired a dart into the hands of tight end Jason Pociask, who was hounded by cornerback Drew Coleman in the back of the endzone.
Following the practice, Clemens didn’t delve deep into the quarterback discussion.
“As far as the quarterbacks, we’ll see who goes out there and then who goes out there second. That will be all up to [Mangini]. It comes down to really just moving the team, managing the game, taking care of the football obviously and scoring points. That’s part of playing quarterback whether you’re in a competition or not,” Clemens said.
Clemens’ competitor for the starting job endured another inconsistent afternoon. Pennington opened 7-on-7 drills with a screen pass to running back Leon Washington but then overthrew Laveranues Coles near the left corner of the endzone. Pennington’s sharpest throw came two passes later, as the nine-year veteran split the seams and hit wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery in stride for a 40-yard touchdown.
The starter for Thursday’s game still remains a mystery to Pennington.
“Based upon the past experiences with [Mangini] you know we have no clue what’s gonna happen, who’s going to start,” Pennington said.
When does the Jets’ quarterback think Mangini will name a starter?
“Normally, based on my past experience, it’s been the night before the game. We have our quarterback meetings that night,” Pennington said.
In terms of determining a starter for the regular season opener at Miami on Sept. 7, Thursday’s game will surely play a part for Mangini.
“In terms of actual weight, you know, I haven’t sat down with the weight, like in college where you have the take-home exam and the final, none of that. But it’ll definitely be a factor,” Mangini said.
Again, just when you thought the Brett Favre drama was over, late this afternoon reports surfaced that the Packers and Favre have come to an impasse and a trade is imminent. However, the latest buzz is that his destination is Tampa Bay and not New York. Some outlets are even reporting that a deal is done. Stay tuned, as this story changes like the weather in Seattle.
The Move to Florham Park
With the move to Florham Park, N.J. scheduled for Sept. 2, the Jets have managed to keep the transition a non-distraction for players searching for housing.
“We’ve done a lot of things gradually to make that transition as easy as possible,” Mangini said.
Among such things, the Jets have gone on multiple bus trips during the off-season to spend time with real estate agents and look around the area.
“A lot of guys have houses there. Coaches, players, a high percentage of guys have a place to live. We’ve got temporary housing allocated,” Mangini said.
The Jets' head coach sounded excited about the move.
“What’s exciting about it is, you love the Long Island fans and the loyalty and the history here, but it is a beautiful facility that we’re moving into,” Mangini said. “It’s a really nice area that we’re moving into and I think that as much as possible we’ve controlled the details. And then once we get into that new facility, it’s a pretty amazing place. I think it’ll be more a feeling of excitement as opposed to stress.”
Today’s practice again concluded with Mike Nugent kicking field goals. Nugent was a perfect 7-for-7, with his longest kick from 52 yards.
Miller Making Progress
One player who continues to impress Mangini is cornerback Justin Miller. After missing the entire 2007 season with a torn ACL, Miller has played a majority of snaps in training camp with the starting defense.
“I think Justin over the last two years has made tremendous strides. I like the way he practices. He’s focusing on a lot of the details of defensive back play, which I think has translated really well into what he’s done at practice,” Mangini said.
Offensive lineman Clint Oldenburg, who was carted off the field yesterday with an apparent knee injury, did not practice. Linebacker David Harris (leg) missed his tenth consecutive practice and spent much of the session on the exercise bike. Defensive end Shaun Ellis sat out and had a cast on his right hand. No details on the severity of the injury were available. Running back Jesse Chatman and wide receiver Marcus Henry sat out the session with undisclosed injuries. Linebacker Jason Trusnik (undisclosed injury) remains on the PUP List and did not practice.
Cleveland Browns (0-0) vs. New York Jets (0-0)
When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium- Cleveland, Ohio
Last Meeting: Browns 24, Jets 18- December 9, 2007 at Giants Stadium
The team travels tomorrow to Cleveland for their game on Thursday so there will be no media access. Next practice will be Saturday.
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