CORTLAND, N.Y. – Kevin O’Connell towers over his quarterback counterparts, all he needs is a chance. Standing tall at 6-foot-6 it’s hard to miss the second-year QB from San Diego State. As he enters his first full season with the Jets, he’s hoping to take his prototypical QB physique and pair it with the mental aspect of the N.F.L. to take his game to the next level.
“[Kevin] has all the equipment needed to fit in the modern NFL quarterback toolbox,” said San Diego sports writer Nick Canepa, who covered O’Connell while he played at San Diego State. “He’s 6-foot-6 and weighs 235 pounds. He runs like a deer. He has plenty of arm. He’s smart. He comes from a great background. He has a wonderful personality. He’s a leader.”
With a whole off-season to grasp the offense, he’s hopeful to put everything together and create a name for himself in the league.
“There’s not one thing I’m particularly working on. I’m trying to get better all-around and work my way up the depth chart. As a back-up you have to ready,” said O’Connell.
Realistically he will be battling with Erik Ainge, who has been absent from training camp thus far with an undisclosed illness, for the number three spot on the depth chart behind start Mark Sanchez and newly-acquired back-up Mark Brunell.
O’Connell was drafted in 2008 by the New England Patriots before being released in 2009. He spent some time with Detroit Lions before being traded to the Jets for a 2011 seventh-round pick on September 6th, 2009.
When asked about being on both sides of the Jets-Patriots rivalry, he was surprised by the magnitude of it all. “Coming from San Diego, I had no idea how serious everyone took it. I remember one of the first games in ’08 [as a Patriot] playing against [Brett] Favre. The intensity is great,” he said.
Rex Ryan offered little praise for the third-stringer, perhaps motivation for O’Connell. “He looks nice and tall, a good-looking kid. He looks like [Tom] Brady. I’d like to see him play like Brady. We’ll see,” he said.
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