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Jet backup QBs scramble

No snap decision for Gang

By JULIAN GARCIA

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Eric Mangini thinks "the best players should play." He's also confident rookies can contribute, regardless of their positions.

Given that, it seems Kellen Clemens has a reasonable chance to be the Jets' No.2 quarterback when the season begins Sept.10 in Tennessee. That's assuming Chad Pennington is the starter, and since Mangini hasn't made that announcement yet, he's probably not ready to reveal his No.2 guy.

Whoever wins the job will have earned it since the three men involved in the battle - Clemens, Patrick Ramsey and Brooks Bollinger - have all said the competition has been difficult, especially on their psyches. It's also been close, statistically speaking.

After two preseason games, it's hard to say which QB has been the most productive.

Clemens, the second-round pick this year out of Oregon, has led the Jets to 10 points in six possessions.

Ramsey, the veteran who spent four years in Washington before being traded to the Jets in March, has led the Jets to seven points in five possessions.

Bollinger, heading into his fourth season as a Jets backup, has led the team to six points in three possessions.

Pennington has yet to lead the Jets to any points but has been on the field for just two possessions. That will change against the Giants on Friday, when Pennington is expected to play the majority of the first half. That means there will be less time for any of the backups to impress Mangini.

Though Ramsey would appear to have the inside track based on his experience - he's started 24games - Mangini says anyone can win the job. And the players involved believe him, so the pressure is mounting.

"If Coach Mangini says it's a four-way competition, then that's what it is," Clemens said. "I just try to get better each day and hopefully I've done that."

Clemens said he feels like he's been on an "upward trend" since the start of training camp. Regardless, his roster spot is likely safe since the Jets used a high draft pick to get him. The Jets also gave Ramsey a one-year, $2.1million contract extension in July, $250,000 of which is guaranteed.

That leaves Bollinger as the apparent man out should the Jets decide to keep three quarterbacks. Following Saturday's game in Washington, during which he went 10-for-16 for 69yards and led the Jets on a 23-play drive that ended with a field goal, Bollinger admitted that competing with two other players for the backup job - and most likely just two roster spots - are weighing on him.

"In this league, there are always 15 people evaluating you, everything you do, every day," he said. "It is difficult at times but if you get caught up in it, you handicap yourself."

The backup quarterback job, and even the No.3 job, should be of particular importance to the Jets. Last season, they lost their starter, Pennington, and backup, Jay Fiedler, in the same game.

Mangini said he wants to be sure that if a similar situation occurs this season, the Jets will be in good hands.

"I think whoever gives us the best chance to win, then they should be the one who is playing," Mangini said.

Originally published on August 23, 2006

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Barlow in rush to rest up

New running back Kevan Barlow slept through practice yesterday. But Barlow, acquired from the 49ers in a trade over the weekend, won't be getting fined by coach Eric Mangini. In fact, Barlow had permission to stay in his hotel room while his teammates sweated through a 2-1/2-hour afternoon practice. Mangini said that since Barlow took a red-eye flight from California to New York Sunday night/Monday morning then practiced for about an hour and a half Monday afternoon following an extensive physical, it would do him some good to rest.

The situation seemed odd considering Mangini has been very hard on the Jets during his first training camp. "We worked him pretty hard (Monday)," Mangini said. "I just thought he should go back and get some sleep because he hasn't been able to sleep much the past few days. He's in bed, which is where a lot of people would like to be right now."

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TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS: Curtis Martin, who had his $2.5million contract restructured as a precursor to the Barlow deal, was also given permission to leave the team yesterday. Mangini said Martin was taking care of some "personal" business he had been told about "a while ago." He was expecting Martin back last night.... Right tackle Anthony Clement appears close to locking up the starting job. Mangini said Adrian Jones, who started at RT last season and is Clements' main competition, provides some flexibility since "he's a guy who can move around" on the line.

Julian Garcia

Originally published on August 23, 2006

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QUARTER-BACKUPS

JETS' COMPETITION A REAL FLIP OF COIN

By MARK CANNIZZARO

August 23, 2006 -- All right. We know Chad Pennington is the Jets' starting quarterback. The competition for that job is over.

Sure, Eric Mangini has not confirmed it yet, but Mangini won't confirm that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, either, so we'll go by what we've seen, which is a complete dominance of the competition in practice and in games played by Pennington.

Now the quarterback question with the Jets is this: Who's going to back up Pennington?

That, based on the fact Pennington is seeking to complete his first 16-game season without injury in four years of play, makes the backup spot a rather critical one for the Jets.

Based on salary and experience, you would think Patrick Ramsey would be the logical answer as Pennington's backup.

The problem there is this: Other than showing he has a pretty strong arm, Ramsey hasn't really distinguished himself in practices or in game play. Despite his 6-of-9 passing for 33 yards against the Redskins on Saturday, Ramsey's performance was nondescript.

He doesn't really seem to provide much, if any, spark to the offense the way Pennington does, the way rookie Kellen Clemens has in his brief outings, or the way Brooks Bollinger has.

Bollinger, who played the bulk of the 2005 season, seemed to move the team with more fire than Ramsey did. In fairness, Ramsey was playing against the Redskins' first-team defense. However, Bollinger was playing with the Jets' second-and third-team players around him.

If Mangini sees enough in Clemens, the coach doesn't appear to be adverse to having a rookie back up his starter.

Asked yesterday if salary (Ramsey was given a one-year contract extension as camp began) would dictate who the backup will be, Mangini said, "It's just going to be the best players who are going to play regardless of salary, what other issues are."

Asked if he's opposed to having a rookie backup QB, Mangini said, "The best player should play. I've seen lot of rookies go in and be very successful. If they give you the best chance to win then they should be in there."

Clemens, a second-round pick, is going to make the team. The only question is whether he's the No. 3 who waits, watches and learns in his first year or whether he's good enough now to be the No. 2.

The most compelling decision Mangini is going to have to make is who stays between Ramsey, for whom the Jets traded a sixth-round draft pick in the offseason, or Bollinger.

Cutting Ramsey would be a rather bold move considering he has the most NFL experience among the three. But if he hasn't played as well as Clemens and Bollinger, then why keep him?

If the Jets play it safe and opt to keep Ramsey, they should try to get something in a trade for Bollinger, who's a commodity of at least some value based on the way he played last season under such duress.

The Colts just lost their backup to injury. Tampa Bay QB coach Paul Hackett (remember him?) is known to like Bollinger.

For Bollinger, he said after Saturday's game he wants to remain in New York "to help make this team better," but he knows the final decision is not in his control.

Asked if he felt he made a positive impression against the Redskins, at one point leading the team on a 24-play drive that took nearly 12 minutes, "That's for the people evaluating me to decide."

Asked if it's stressful not knowing his role or whether he'll even have a job, Bollinger said, "That's the way it is in this league, you always have 15 people evaluating everything you do every day. If you get caught up in that (competition), you're handicapping yourself and making it difficult on yourself.

"You can't control that. I'm happy to be a Jet right now. I'm doing everything I can to make this team better and hopefully it works out."

Clemens, who's married, seems to have a pretty level head about things. He's conducted himself in a manner which seems mature beyond his years.

"I've got a lot of things to learn: Trying to understand the rules of the league, the way you play in the NFL, the way you conduct yourself as a professional football player, learning the offense, getting to know the guys," he said. "As far as the competition, that'll all take care of itself."

mark.cannizzaro@nypost.com

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CURTIS HAS TAKEN PAY CUT

By MARK CANNIZZARO

August 23, 2006 -- Curtis Martin, who remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, was excused by the Jets yesterday to tend to some personal business, according to Eric Mangini.

Those personal reasons, Mangini said, were not related to any medical issues.

Martin, according to a report, agreed to a pay cut recently. He was scheduled to make $2.5 million in base salary in 2006 and now will make the veteran minimum of $810,000. If he's placed on injured reserve and doesn't play this season, he'll earn $475,000.

There are many things that can be read into this move, the first being that the Jets are taking care of their warrior workhorse knowing he likely won't play again for them.

Mangini continued yesterday to avoid any direct answers to questions about Martin.

Asked if he expects Martin to play again, Mangini said, "I'm always optimistic about anyone that has the work ethic that Curtis has. Having guys like Curtis in the program is fantastic.

"You can't get better leadership, you can't get a better example of what it means to be a pro. I've got two kids and I hope they grow up to be as good as Curtis Martin. Athletically, I doubt they will, but personally I hope they do."

*

Newly acquired RB Kevan Barlow, who arrived Monday and passed his physical, was given yesterday off by Mangini to rest himself after a hectic run getting to New York in short time.

Barlow, traded by San Francisco, will return to practice today and surely will get some plays against the Giants in the annual preseason matchup Friday.

*

Despite the fact Adrian Jones has played with the second team a bit of late, he hasn't necessarily lost his starting right tackle job, according to Mangini.

Mangini said Jones playing several different positions has nothing to do with whether he'll start or not.

"With Adrian, he's played lot of different spots - right tackle, left tackle, inside at guard - because he's a guy that can move around and provide flexibility," Mangini said. "We've got to give him the opportunity to get some time there so the first time he goes to play one of those spots it won't be the first time."

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Clement the right fit

Replacing Jones at RT helps backs run for 216 yards vs. Redskins

BY TOM ROCK

Newsday Staff Writer

August 23, 2006

The Jets may have found their other bookend.

While first-round pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson mans left tackle on the offensive line, a slot the Jets hope to have him penciled into for, oh, about a decade, right tackle has been less certain. Adrian Jones began the season in that spot, but after a shaky performance in the first preseason game, coach Eric Mangini sent him on a tour of the line, working him at both tackle positions and guard.

That's allowed nine-year veteran Anthony Clement, a 49er last season, to take over as the starting right tackle. The result was a 400-percent increase in rushing yardage against the Redskins last week, with good success running to the right side behind Clement and guard Brandon Moore.

The running backs, who were playing in that game under the threat of having the Jets trade for a possible replacement any day, took some rightful credit for the turnaround. But the tweak on the line certainly helped facilitate the 216-yard performance.

"When I look at Anthony ... he's what I think of when I think about a right tackle," said Jets guard Pete Kendall, a teammate of Clement in Arizona from 2001-03. "Perhaps not the athlete that D'Brickashaw is, and that's why he's a right tackle, but then again, none of us are quite the athlete D'Brickashaw is."

Clement's size is more typical of an NFL right tackle. At 6-8, 320, he has 3 inches and more than 20 pounds on Jones, who played all over the Jets' line last year because of injuries.

With Mangini, a player is rarely certain of his status. So even though Clement has been with the first team, had a successful preseason game and has experience, he's not certain where he fits into the team's plans.

"I'm out here working hard just like everybody else, trying to earn a spot on the team and trying to compete," he said, giving the company-issued line used by virtually every player.

Mangini was even less specific when asked about the change at right tackle. He said the shake-up, despite appearing successful, is more about giving Jones various looks.

"You have got to give him the opportunity to get some work [at left tackle and guard], so that the first time he does play those spots, he is not seeing things from a whole new perspective," Mangini said.

Jones' greatest value may be his versatility. He began last season as the starting right tackle, then went to left tackle when Jason Fabini was hurt in Week 4.

"In some cases, guys are straight left tackles or just a running tackle," Jones said, "but a lot of tackles in the league can go both ways, so that's nothing new."

The biggest difference between the positions is first step and hand placement, Jones said. When younger, he sometimes made a right-tackle move at left tackle, or vice versa. "Now I've gotten used to switching the techniques over in my mind," he said.

Clement knows Jones' ability to play multiple positions is a benefit. "It's always key to be able to rotate guys in just in case somebody gets hurt," Clement said. "You have to have somebody who can fill in at times."

Right tackle is looking more like Clement's spot to fill.

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OK I admit it. You're faster than I am. It seems to be just about unanimous, as my wife, daughter, mother, two of my sisters, and Smizzy agree.

I'm going to hijack this & turn it into the Jets articles thread.

LOL...see my vCash?! I'm paid by Max to be Johnny on the spot...didn't you get the memo?

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Martin has fan in coach

BY TOM ROCK

Newsday Staff Writer

August 23, 2006

Although the prognosis for Curtis Martin's return to an NFL field turns gloomier with each passing circumstance, coach Eric Mangini said yesterday he is optimistic the No. 4 all-time rusher will play again.

"I am always optimistic about anybody who has the work ethic that Curtis has," Mangini said yesterday in light of reports that the Jets had restructured Martin's contract to protect themselves from paying full price for a player not at full strength.

Martin, who had surgery on his right knee in December and has been on the physically unable to perform list since camp opened last month, is reported to have a bone-on-bone condition. He continues to rehab inside the Jets' facility at Hofstra. Yesterday, Mangini said he was excused for "personal reasons" that were non-medical.

Mangini said even when he is not playing, Martin lends class and experience to the team.

"You can't get a better person than Curtis Martin," Mangini said. "I have two kids and I hope they grow up to be as good as Curtis Martin."

Then he paused. "Now, athletically, I doubt they will," he said with a smirk.

Barlow excused

Kevan Barlow must have made a fantastic first impression with the Jets, because they already gave him a day off.

Barlow was up for nearly 40 hours after taking a red-eye from San Francisco and arriving Monday morning. He was allowed to skip the afternoon workout and catch up on sleep.

"He didn't really sleep much the last couple of days, and that is something I wanted him to do," Mangini said.

Jet streams

Justin McCareins made a juggling catch of a Patrick Ramsey bullet to cap the two-minute drill at the end of practice, but on the conversion try, Ramsey missed TE Doug Jolley ... WR Tim Dwight did not practice, a day after being shaken up in a collision with S Erik Coleman. Dwight had his right thigh wrapped yesterday ... The entire defense had to run a punishment lap, and even DBs coach Corwin Brown made the trip around the field ... DE Dave Ball stepped in front of a Brooks Bollinger screen for an easy interception and batted down Bollinger's pass on the next snap ... TE Walter Rasby, who signed Monday, made a false start early in practice and had to run a lap. Welcome aboard!

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THE RED ZONE: Quick hits from around training camps

Tom Rock

August 23, 2006

JETS: House was blue; now it's green

Eric Mangini let it slip last week that he was a Cowboys fan as a kid. Yesterday the Jets coach made another revelation: He grew up in a Giants house.

"My dad was a huge Giants fan," said Mangini, who will lead the Jets against the Giants Friday. "He was my dad, so we watched what he wanted to watch on Sunday. There weren't a lot of TVs in the house, so I watched quite a few Giants games."

The Jets are the home team Friday night. That means Mangini gets the remote control, and you can bet the televisions will be tuned to the Jets game.

Bottom line

Don't expect to see much from new RB Kevan Barlow on Friday. Mangini has not ruled him out, but said his situation would be evaluated at the end of the week. - TOM ROCK

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Jets have it covered with Dyson

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BY DAVE HUTCHINSON

Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Two off-seasons ago, the Jets courted cornerback Andre Dyson in free agency. They put on the hard sell but lost out to the Seattle Seahawks. Location, not money, was the deciding factor.

Dyson, who grew up in Utah and played football at the University of Utah, wanted to stay out West. He made a wise decision, helping Seattle to Super Bowl XL against the Steelers and starting in the game.

This past off-season, Dyson was on the market again after being released following an injury-filled year. The Jets came calling again and this time Dyson said yes.

"When a team wants you one year and they come back at you the next year, it makes you feel wanted," said Dyson, who signed a five-year, $11.5 million contract that included $3 million in guarantees. "You always want to go somewhere where you're wanted and needed and I feel like this was a good opportunity for me."

Dyson, 27, remained on the Jets' radar because the team has been searching for a big-time cover corner since they sent Aaron Glenn to the expansion Texans following the 2001 season. They've tried Donnie Abraham, Aaron Beasley, David Barrett and Ty Law and none of them have filled the void for any length of time.

Barrett, a two-year starter, is the only one still with the team.

Dyson, who will start alongside Barrett or second-year pro Justin Miller, was a second-round pick by Tennessee in 2001. The 5-10, 183-pounder played four seasons with the Titans, two with his older brother, Kevin. A crafty cover guy, he has notched 17 interceptions, 69 passes defended and scored five touchdowns in 72 career games, 64 starts.

This summer, Dyson is quietly having a solid camp. He rarely gets beat and has several pass breakups. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

"Andre has been having a really good camp," coach Eric Mangini said. "He has really made strides from when he got here. I've been really happy with where he is."

Last season, Dyson reached his peak and valley in the same game. In a Monday night matchup at Philadelphia, he had a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 25-yard fumble recovery for a score. But on the fumble recovery, he sprained his left ankle.

Dyson missed the final four games of the regular season -- six total -- and was hobbled during the NFC playoffs. Then, as he was getting healthy, he suffered a strained right quad in the final practice before the Seahawks departed for Detroit for the Super Bowl.

The injury forced him to miss all but the final practice for the Super Bowl. Despite that, Dyson was allowed to start. He played most of the first half before leaving the game for good in the third quarter when his quad tightened up.

Prior to last season, Dyson had missed only two games in his career -- the first two of his rookie year with a broken toe -- because of injury.

"I was banged up, but it's the last game of the year," said Dyson, who says he has no ill feelings toward the Seahawks for releasing him. "It was frustrating to go out there and know you're not at your best. ... I had stupid injuries throughout the whole year and getting hurt a week before the Super Bowl was icing on the cake as far as how my season went last year."

Dyson says playing in the Super Bowl and playing two seasons with his brother have been the highlights of his career thus far. Kevin, a former NFL wide receiver, is four years older than Andre, who said it was bittersweet when he was first drafted by the Titans because he feared everyone would think he was drafted because of his brother.

"It was a great experience playing with my brother," Andre said. "No one can ever take that away from us. My family got to enjoy it. We almost went to the Super Bowl together (in 2002). I'll never forget those two years. I'm glad I had the opportunity to play with him."

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DAY AT JETS CAMP

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BY DAVE HUTCHINSON

Star-Ledger Staff

PLAYER PROFILE

T ANTHONY CLEMENT

The move barely registered a blip on the NFL radar. On April, 4, 2006, the Jets signed veteran offensive tackle Anthony Clement to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $810,000. No big deal.

Turns out it's a very big deal for the Jets -- literally and figuratively -- as the 6-8, 320-pounder has apparently beaten out third-year pro Adrian Jones for the starting job at right tackle.

Clement, a ninth-year pro, has been working with the first team for the past two weeks and is more than holding his own. And why not? The former second-round pick by the Cardinals (36th overall in 1998) has 76 career starts under his belt in 96 career games.

From 1999 to 2001, Clement started 45 consecutive games. He spent his first seven seasons in Arizona at right tackle and played left tackle in one season with the 49ers in 2005.

"It's going real good," said Clement, who refused to talk about RB Kevan Barlow, with whom he played with last season. "I'm out here working hard just like everybody else, trying to earn a spot on the team and trying to compete."

As is his wont, coach Eric Mangini downplayed the insertion of Clement into the starting lineup, saying something about moving Jones around so he's comfortable at several positions.

But the fact is, with Clement in the starting lineup last week against the Redskins, the Jets' rushing game showed life running behind guard Brandon Moore and Clement on the right side. The Jets finished with 216 yards rushing, with 61 yards coming on a reverse to rookie wide receiver Brad Smith.

"It's always a big confidence factor when you rush for that many yards and it's always a challenge to do it again for a second game in a row," said Clement. "Hopefully we can get that done."

With the 6-8 Clement on one side and the 6-6, 315-pound D'Brickashaw Ferguson on the other, the Jets truly have bookend offensive tackles. And with center Nick Mangold settling in and flanked by veteran guards Moore and Pete Kendall, the Jets have the making of a solid offensive line.

WHO'S HOT

CB Drew Coleman made a nifty one-handed interception on Chad Pennington. ... WR Justin McCareins made an impressive TD grab in the two-minute drill. ... Rookie NT Brennan Schmidt made a strong pass-rushing move for a sack.

WHO'S NOT

QB Brooks Bollinger threw a bad interception to DE Dave Ball on a screen pass.

MARTIN REWORKS DEAL

In another indication that the career of RB Curtis Martin is just about over, the Jets have restructured his deal again, primarily to protect themselves and get salary cap relief in the likely case he doesn't play this season.

Martin, who was scheduled to earn $2.5 million in base salary this season after taking a $3.8 million cut in February, signed a "split" contract last week that reduces his base salary to $810,000, the veteran's minimum. He can recoup some money in incentives.

If Martin is placed on injured reserve and is out for the season, he'll earn $475,000. The move creates $1.7 million in cap room immediately.

Yesterday, Martin, who won't be ready for the start of the season, was excused from his rehab for "personal reasons," Mangini said.

BARLOW GIVEN DAY OFF

Newly acquired RB Kevan Barlow, who caught a red-eye from the West Coast Sunday night and immediately reported to Hofstra upon landing with no sleep, was excused from practice yesterday by Mangini so he could get some rest.

Barlow has yet to go through an entire practice and Mangini said his status for Friday's preseason game against the Giants is uncertain.

QUICK HITS

The Jets break camp today. ... Former Jets LB Bryan Cox, an assistant defensive line coach, is doing an excellent job working with the young guys. He uses the same trash-talking style and brutal honesty that served him well as a player to motivate his guys.

INJURY REPORT

S Jamie Thompson (knee), WRs Tim Dwight (banged up) and Dante Ridgeway (knee) and G Isaac Snell (knee) didn't practice.

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Jets' Miller running out of time

By MIKE DOUGHERTY

mdougher@lohud.com

THE JOURNAL NEWS

(Original publication: August 23, 2006)

HEMPSTEAD — It's only natural that Justin Miller's level of concern rises with each lap around the practice field.

The circuit is becoming all too familiar.

As Jets practice came to a close yesterday, Miller was doing a lap. The second-year cornerback had not finished the session well. He struggled to stay with receiver Jerricho Cotchery and gave up big plays against the scout team.

There's not much time left to impress Jets coach Eric Mangini.

Miller started the final eight games last season, but right now he appears to be stuck in nickel coverage, playing behind veterans David Barrett and Andre Dyson.

"I think we're all competitive; we all want to be successful," Miller said. "At the end of the day, no matter who goes out there and plays, as long as we play well as a unit, I think that's the main issue."

Miller clearly has the new language down cold.

It's technique on the field that's preventing him from having more success, according to Mangini.

A bad response to a hesitation move by Cotchery was a strong example. Miller hit the ground after his legs became entangled — oops. He failed to look back for the ball later in practice and surrendered two big plays.

"Justin is working at it," Mangini said. "And it comes down to the same issues, combining talent with technique. The quicker he is able to get the technique down, the quicker you will see the talent he has. He has done some positive things, but it is different than it was last year, so there is learning there for him as well."

Miller, though, doesn't believe the adjustment is an obstacle.

He's got the optimism and confidence every corner needs to be successful at this level. He's been getting plenty of chances to learn from preseason mistakes, but needs to show improvement over the next two weeks.

"I think personally, it's just going out there and getting better each day," said Miller, whose 60 kickoff returns for 1,577 yards were both club records. "I don't think there's any adjustment to the system. You have to go out there and play and compete, and do what's asked of you each day."

And lining up against the Giants Friday might help the situation, in that he'll be going up against a live opponent. It's a little easier to play all-out against the real opposition.

"It's always going to be difficult when it's not actually that person (you're going to see), but our scout team gives us the best look possible each week," Miller said. "All we can do is prepare, based on what we see or what we've watched all week on film."

In another development, Kevan Barlow was given the day off to catch up on sleep by Mangini.

After spending nearly 48 hours on the go, the newly acquired running back was running down. He's expected to return to practice this afternoon, but there's not a lot of time left in the week to prepare for a prominent role Friday night against the Giants.

"He's in bed, which is probably where a lot of people would like to be right now," Mangini said. "I'm going to see how quickly he picks up some things. Maybe (he's going to be involved) on a limited basis. What I want to do is be smart with this because you want to make sure the guy really understands what he needs to do."

Curtis Martin, who is recovering from a knee injury, also was excused from practice to attend to personal business.

"He'll be back later tonight," Mangini said. "He had a couple of things he talked to me about a while ago. … It's not medical at all."

Still, the questions linger.

Mangini was elusive when asked whether there was reason to believe Martin will ever be ready to play.

"Curtis is working as hard as he can to get back as quickly as he can," Mangini said. "There is no change in his status. He is taking the same approach, and we are taking the same approach. We are trying to get him out there as quickly as we can."

Camping out

Eye-opener: Ryan Moynihan's visit to Jets camp wasn't exactly what he thought it might be. The fifth-grader, who came from Dobbs Ferry to spend yesterday watching on the sidelines along with his Pop Warner teammates, expected to see more hitting. And he was a little surprised at how big some of the Jets were. "They are bigger than I thought," Moynihan said. "But I thought they would tackle each other more." The yearly trip down to Hofstra is a reward for coming to practice. "We like to show them practices are the same whether you're a little kid or a big kid," Dobbs Ferry Pop Warner coach Gary Ferrari said.

Rookie watch: QB Kellen Clemens got more snaps than Patrick Ramsey and Brooks Bollinger in practice on Monday, because he didn't play much Saturday in Washington and Jets coach Eric Mangini likes to keep things relatively balanced. He also likes the progress the Oregon product is making. "If a problem comes up or he makes a mistake, he corrects it," Mangini said. "He studies and studies. That's always going to give any player a shot, if they can process the information and continue to stay ahead of the learning curve."

Training room: DT Tui Alailefaleula (knee), WR Tim Dwight (undisclosed), S Jamie Thompson (leg), WR Dante Ridgeway (leg), G Isaac Snell (leg), S Mondoe Davis (undisclosed) and RB Curtis Martin (knee) did not practice.

Competition: RT Anthony Clement lined up with the first team again yesterday, keeping Adrian Jones on the move. "With Adrian, he has played a lot of different spots," Mangini said. "He has played right tackle, and now you have seen him at left tackle, you have seen him inside at guard. He is a guy who can move around and provide some flexibility. You have got to give him the opportunity to get some work there so that the first time he does play those spots, he is not seeing things from a whole new perspective."

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August 23, 2006 -- All right. We know Chad Pennington is the Jets' starting quarterback. The competition for that job is over.

Sure, Eric Mangini has not confirmed it yet, but Mangini won't confirm that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, either,

How would Mangini know if the sun was going to rise tomorrow or not? Hate to nitpick but that seems like a terrible analogy to me.

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The QB decision they have to make it definitely challenging.

"Based on salary and experience, you would think Patrick Ramsey would be the logical answer as Pennington's backup.

The problem there is this: Other than showing he has a pretty strong arm, Ramsey hasn't really distinguished himself in practices or in game play. Despite his 6-of-9 passing for 33 yards against the Redskins on Saturday, Ramsey's performance was nondescript.

He doesn't really seem to provide much, if any, spark to the offense the way Pennington does, the way rookie Kellen Clemens has in his brief outings, or the way Brooks Bollinger has.

Bollinger, who played the bulk of the 2005 season, seemed to move the team with more fire than Ramsey did. In fairness, Ramsey was playing against the Redskins' first-team defense. However, Bollinger was playing with the Jets' second-and third-team players around him.

If Mangini sees enough in Clemens, the coach doesn't appear to be adverse to having a rookie back up his starter.

Asked yesterday if salary (Ramsey was given a one-year contract extension as camp began) would dictate who the backup will be, Mangini said, "It's just going to be the best players who are going to play regardless of salary, what other issues are."

Asked if he's opposed to having a rookie backup QB, Mangini said, "The best player should play. I've seen lot of rookies go in and be very successful. If they give you the best chance to win then they should be in there."

Clemens, a second-round pick, is going to make the team. The only question is whether he's the No. 3 who waits, watches and learns in his first year or whether he's good enough now to be the No. 2.

The most compelling decision Mangini is going to have to make is who stays between Ramsey, for whom the Jets traded a sixth-round draft pick in the offseason, or Bollinger.

Cutting Ramsey would be a rather bold move considering he has the most NFL experience among the three. But if he hasn't played as well as Clemens and Bollinger, then why keep him?

If the Jets play it safe and opt to keep Ramsey, they should try to get something in a trade for Bollinger, who's a commodity of at least some value based on the way he played last season under duress..."

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This is basically what I've been saying. Clemens on the team is a given. At this point he looks to be the future. Do you keep a guy (Ramsey) who LOOKS like a QB but isnt really doing much, or the guy (Bolly) who plays streetball, gets no style QB points, but moves the chains?

Even yesterday in practice, Bolly faded back, didnt see his first option open and immediately tucked it and ran. He doesnt seem to checkdown and go thru his progressions.

Ramsey otoh spends too much time going thru his progressions and tends to hold on to the ball too long. Neither is a particularly attractive option.

Clemens is still green, and threw well in drills yesterday, but not so great in the scrimmage.

As long as Chad stays healthy, i think he'll play until the Jets are eliminated from contention. At that point, if the OL is doing a decent job, I look for Clemens to get some PT.

If neither Ramsey or Bolly saw a meaningful snap all season, I would consider that to be a good thing.

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I think ultimately the Ramsey/Bollinger decision is going to come down to the OL protection & not the QB, since they both stink.

If it looks like the protection is decent enough, then Ramsey. If it's terrible, then Bollinger. The thing is, if all we wanted was a QB to look at his first read & run if it isn't open, we might as well put Brad Smith back there. Faster & has a better arm than Bollinger anyway.

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I think ultimately the Ramsey/Bollinger decision is going to come down to the OL protection & not the QB, since they both stink.

If it looks like the protection is decent enough, then Ramsey. If it's terrible, then Bollinger. The thing is, if all we wanted was a QB to look at his first read & run if it isn't open, we might as well put Brad Smith back there. Faster & has a better arm than Bollinger anyway.

I said that exact thing after the game. What Bolly does well won't be enough to get him on this team. He can scramble and run a bit. But he can't throw at all. So if that is what you want get someone who can REALLY run.

To his credit though Brooks represented himself well throughout.

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