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Jets have improved, but quarterback remains an issue

Yasinskas_Pat_55.jpg By Pat Yasinskas

ESPN.com

(Archive)

The New York Giants won the Super Bowl. The New York Jets are trying to buy one.

The Jets must have brought in consultants because it appears they believe Lombardi Trophies cost about $140 million in new contract money. That number's going to keep growing because the Jets are still going to sign role players and their draft picks. Oh, and if they bring in a proven quarterback with a big arm (which they currently lack), the number could get a lot closer to $200 million in new contracts.

So far, the Jets have signed offensive lineman Alan Faneca (to what was at first a team record in free agency). Then they traded a couple of draft picks to Carolina for disgruntled defensive tackle Kris Jenkins and handed him a big new contract. Then they quickly turned around and signed offensive tackle Damien Woody and linebacker Calvin Pace (who got a bigger deal than Faneca).

So what do the Jets have that they didn't during last year's 4-12 season? They have a much bigger (and that's a point to keep an eye on) nose tackle in their 3-4 defense in Jenkins, whose weight has ballooned from 330 to close to 400 through much of his career. The Jets thought Dewayne Robertson, the undersized tackle Jenkins will replace, would be gone by now. But a potential trade to Cincinnati fell apart. The Jets will continue to shop Robertson, but they'll be lucky to get a late-round pick for him.

It's now looking possible that Robertson could stick around. But that would be awkward because he'll clearly be a backup. Releasing Robertson is another option.

Trading for Jenkins and giving him a new contract that includes $11 million in guaranteed money is a bit of a gamble. But it looks as though the Jets have the odds in their favor. Early in his career, Jenkins was talked about as the best defensive tackle in the league, a new breed who could stuff the running game and rush the passer.

But Jenkins had injury problems that kept him out for most of 2004 and 2005. During his comeback, Jenkins admitted to problems with alcohol and his weight, and said he may have suffered from depression. Jenkins cut way back on his alcohol consumption, tried to take better care of himself and was at least somewhat happy part of the time. But Jenkins, who can be a little moody, wasn't happy that Carolina wasn't stepping up to give him a new contract. He tried to force his way out with a trade last year because he had grown disillusioned with certain members of the coaching staff for using politics to decide who got playing time.

Jenkins, as bright and candid a player as there is in the league, stood out like a sore thumb in a Carolina system where coach John Fox demands that all his players (except for receiver Steve Smith) be robotic choirboys. Jenkins, who has some tastes that weren't popular in the Bible belt, was so anxious for a change of scenery that he put his suburban mansion on the market a year ago and moved into an apartment downtown so he could feel like he was in a city.

When Jenkins learned he was going to New York, he was jubilant. That's a good start because a happy and focused Jenkins can be a dominant force and a Pro Bowler. Jenkins has even said he plans to take part in voluntary workouts, something he avoided in Carolina, which on doubt added to his weight problem. If Jenkins can keep his weight in the 350-360 range, he can be the player he once was and this move could be brilliant.

But that's not the only move the Jets made to try to spice up their defense. They spent another fortune on Pace. Drafted in the first round by Arizona (2003) as a defensive end, Pace eventually moved to linebacker and it wasn't until last season that he really blossomed, recording 6

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If QB is such a big issue for us how come he only has a paragraph or 2 actually about our QB's?

I agree that we need a QB, but that's either going to be Clemens or bust for this year. And in the meantime we'll just have to hope that he will be helped by the much improved OL and running game that we should have next season.

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Clemens is the 2008 QB and unless he bombs he'll be the 09 QB too. I guarantee Chad will be traded. I'm all for bringing in a Vet. If we end up with a few 2's or 3's I'm all for drafting a QB also. But Clemens will be fine. He had a CRAP O line and a lot of his starts he dealt with 1 of his wr's hurt. Get him a legit WR and he'll be fine.

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Ok then what does that say about KC???????

We need a QB and a #1 WR.

What does what say about KC? That it "says" something that Mangini didn't bench his starter in favor of a guy with 1 career start because he missed a game due to injury?

I'm not even a KC dick-sucker. He was lousy last year. But going back to Pennington in game 3 didn't "say" anything. And after Pennington got benched, the EXACT same thing happened. Clemens got knocked out & returned as the starter as soon as he was healthy. After Chad was benched, Mangini never "went back" to him.

It says nothing.

I would like them to bring in someone else. Problem is that there is no one else. Pennington is awful & Clemens hasn't shown much other than a propensity to throw picks. But it was what -- 7 games?

Then you bring up that we need a #1 WR. Well our #1 was Coles. You feel we need an upgrade from him (and I agree), yet Clemens had to make do without even HIM as the #1. It was Cotchery/Smith or Cotchery/McCareins. Until he got hurt also. Then it was Smith/McCareins a bit. I'd like to see anyone look good throwing to those two.

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You can bet Clemens will start. If that wasn't the plan then he would have been replaced by now. He is past the "waiting in the wings stage" as a result of him taking over for a benched Pennington last year. You can't do that twice with the same QB on the same team and you don't draft a 2nd rounder to be a backup, not to mention the fact that he really has not been given a legitimate shot. If KC fails miserably than you can put in Chad and go back to the QB drawing board.

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