|09-18-2007, 11:50 AM||#1|
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" Clemens' performance won't take away Pennington's starting job " ~ ~ ~
Sept. 18, 2007
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Clemens' performance won't take away Pennington's starting job
Sept. 17, 2007
Clemens' performance won't take away Pennington's starting jobWith Chad Pennington sitting out with an ankle sprain, second-year pro Kellen Clemens started at quarterback for the Jets in their 20-13 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. The former Oregon star completed 19-of-35 passes for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Clemens had been preparing to start throughout the week, but with Pennington’s health status up in the air, it wasn’t decided that he would get the call until just prior to game time.
The PFW Spin
Don’t let the pedestrian numbers fool you. Clemens performed well in his first career start. It’s not easy for even the most seasoned veteran to step in against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Co., but Clemens never wilted under the relentless pressure. The Jets’ O-line continues to be a work in progress, but time and time again,Clemens stepped up in the pocket and delivered confident passes.The QB saga in New York had dominated the team’s practice banter throughout the week. Despite Pennington’s solid play against the Patriots in Week One, the Jets’ notoriously fickle fan base applauded when he hobbled to the sideline in the third quarter after taking a lick from Patriots DRE Jarvis Green. After a fine showing from Clemens during the preseason, they were anxious to see what he could do in regular-season action, and they have to be pleased in what they’ve seen from him thus far. When most coaches prefer to dumb down the offense for a new quarterback, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did almost the opposite, opting for more downfield throws with the stronger-armed Clemens at the controls. While it was assumed that WR Justin McCareins’ deep speed would make him the most attractive option, starting WRs Jerricho Cotchery (seven receptions for 165 yards) and Laveranues Coles (6-57) continued to be the primary targets.
That being said, there is not a QB controversy at this time for the Jets. Pennington remains the unquestioned starter whenever he comes back from his ankle injury, which could be as soon as this week. When the Jets drafted Clemens with their second-round pick in 2006, he was thought to be a capable replacement at quarterback should Pennington’s surgically repaired shoulder prove bothersome enough to limit his playing time. They did not intend for him to beat out a healthy Pennington, and he’ll continue backing up Pennington this season — provided, of course, Pennington can avoid the injuries that have plagued him throughout his career.However, little is guaranteed past this season. It’s assumed that Pennington has the long-term job if he can maintain his health, but if he can’t, Clemens’ performance has been impressive enough that the team might be willing to allow him to lead the team in 2008.
Our fantasy take
At this point, neither Pennington nor Clemens represents a sound fantasy investment. Neither one has a firm hold on the starting job, and behind a shaky offensive line, both are going to be subject to constant pressure, especially with the speedy pass rushers that division rivals New England, Miami and Buffalo boast. You’re better off going with a lower-tier starting quarterback than with one of the Jets.
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