Jump to content

Bleacher Report | Clemens vs. Pennington


rick34125

Recommended Posts

Bleacher Report

New York Jets Quarterback Controversy: Kellen Clemens vs. Chad Pennington

by Mackenzie Kraemer

May 29, 2008

Coming off of a 10-6 season in 2006, hopes were high for Eric Mangini's Jets. The general consensus had been that he took a team without a lot of talent to the playoffs with a weak schedule, and then in 2007, the team would face a reality check.

That proved to be exactly the case, as new acquisition Thomas Jones could not make up for the regression that the offensive line, as a whole, underwent. The only new offensive lineman was Adrien Clarke, a journeyman who was replacing the outspoken Pete Kendall. Clarke was as effective as a turnstile, but the rest of the offensive line seemed to regress as well.

This led to quarterback Chad Pennington, who had been a winner for much of his career with the Jets, getting benched after a 1-7 start. He ended the season with a respectable rating of 86.1, but anyone who watched the games could easily see his flaws and his role in the team not winning.

Kellen Clemens came off the bench, and while he led the team to three wins, he was by many measures the worst quarterback in the NFL last year. By the time he was playing consistently, the team was basically running open tryouts along the offensive line and in the receiving corps. The Jets were an offensive wreck.

Enter the offseason.

While their jobs may not have been on the line just yet, GM Mike Tannenbaum and coach Mangini were looking to make a big splash, and they did just that, signing Calvin Pace, trading for Kris Jenkins, and drafting Vernon Gholston. On the offensive side, they gave Alan Faneca the biggest contract ever for an offensive guard, and Damien Woody received a sizable contract to play right tackle. They also drafted Dustin Keller, 6'2" 245 lb. tight end with enough speed to provide big mismatches.

On paper, it's a completely different team, as the offensive line and defense both look much improved. The improvements of the line also should allow Jones, and receivers Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, to revert back to their normal forms.

All of these moves indicate that the Jets want to win now, but there's one major problem with that. The most important position on the football field is a major question mark, and it's one that even the Jets' coaching staff and front office probably can't answer.

The Case for Chad Pennington

Those who write off Pennington after his 2007 season are sorely mistaken. He never got a chance to succeed, getting hurt in the first game, and then having absolutely no help on the offensive end the rest of the season. Despite that, he put up better numbers and threw for twice as many touchdowns in just 10 more attempts. He took the team to the playoffs in 2006, despite rehabbing most of the offseason, and he also played quite well in 2002 and 2004, with a decent 2003 season in which he got hurt in between.

He'll be 32-years old at the start of the season, and he certainly has experience taking the team to the playoffs. He did that in 2006, and the team is even better around him now. The team is built to win now, and Pennington is the better quarterback today, with experience and statistics both clearly on his side.

The case for Kellen Clemens:

With all the attention that was paid to Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Jay Cutler, the Jets snatched the Oregon quarterback 49th overall after maneuvering up and down in the second round to secure him. Clemens flew up the draft board in the weeks preceding the draft, as people examined and began to like his mobility, arm strength, productivity, and leadership abilities more and more. He only threw two passes his rookie season, but he got his chance Week Two against Baltimore after Pennington suffered a high-ankle sprain in the opening game.

Clemens struggled for three quarters before coming alive in the fourth, where he was two Justin McCareins drops away from tying the game against the mighty Ravens defense. A healthy Pennington regained his job, but Clemens took over late in Week Eight against Buffalo, and kept the job for the rest of the season.

His first win was against Pittsburgh, where he went 14-31 for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also led victories against Miami and Kansas City, but many would argue it was in spite of Clemens rather than because of him. His completion percentage remained low, only reaching 52 percent for the year, with an abysmal 5/10 TD/INT ratio. Only in the Miami game did he post a QB rating over 79, and he ended the season with a 60.9 rating.

Nothing in his play or statistics last year suggested that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. But if quarterbacks were only judged by their first eight games, Hall of Famers like Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw would never have gotten a chance. Clemens will likely never reach that level, but it's a waste of a draft pick to give up on him now. He outplayed Pennington in preseason last year, and the Jets obviously felt strongly enough in his ability to target him in the draft.

He has ability and the physical skills to succeed. He is only 6'2", which is a slight detriment, but if Clemens is going to be a good quarterback in this league, that should not hinder him too much. The Jets should realize that the best thing they can do for the long-term, and possibly the short-term, would be to find out what they have in Clemens.

If he's still playing this poorly after another eight games or so, then maybe pull the plug on him. But last season should be used as a way to get his feet wet in preparation for the 2008 season, not as a way to judge him as a bust. The Jets know what Chad Pennington is. They know that if he gets time, and if he has a great running game, he can be successful. They can always fall back on that if Clemens fails or gets hurt.

Pennington is the perfect backup, but as a starter, you want someone who could have the ability to take you to the Super Bowl. Pennington does not have that. As anyone who watched the games last season noticed, it seemed like every time the Jets were behind late (almost every game), Pennington could not lead a comeback to get the victory, throwing interceptions at the end of many games.

His total lack of velocity allows for players to sit on his out-routes, break toward the ball, and intercept it. You want a player who can succeed when the team is behind or ahead, and when Pennington is limited to throwing to the sideline, which is something he would have to do late in games, he simply can't. Clemens at least has that ability.

Verdict:

Clearly, there are less questions about Pennington than there are with Clemens. The problem with Pennington is that the answers to those questions aren't necessarily positive. Clemens is an unknown at this stage, but he was drafted to be the quarterback of the future, and the future is now.

This may be a win-now team, but they can only win so much with Pennington. Give Clemens some talent around him, something he sorely lacked last season, and the results should improve, dramatically. Either way, the Jets need to find out what they have in Clemens soon.

If he's a bust, they can cut ties with him soon. If he's the quarterback of the future, it would be a shame to leave him on the bench. They can't afford to make the same mistake they did with Pennington, where they did not have enough time to decide if he was the quarterback of the future before giving him a $64-million contract. Clemens is undoubtedly the best option long-term to start this season, and despite the statistics, he may be the best option in the short-term as well.

http://www.bleacherreport.com/articles/26043-New-York-Jets-Quarterback-Controversy-Kellen-Clemens-vs-Chad-Pennington-290508#

I think he does a fair job of breaking down the QB situation, and I too would favor playing Clemens if the competition is close with Pennington and he is showing progress over last year.

One other point I'd make, and I might be alone on this, but I don't think this has to be a make or break year for Clemens if he plays and doesn't perform great. As long as he shows that he's making strides I don't think we should be overly impatient with a QB basically playing his second year (If you call playing 8 games a first year). I think he could very well be mediocre this year and still have an above average career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so being 6'2" is a detriment, huh, this guy is a douche.

too much is put on physicality of these guys, all the qbs have the physical skills, and yet only say 6 -8 are any good. so what sets em apart. Mentality and Personality.

(Brady, Manning, Manning, McNabb, DelHomme, Rothlisberger, Rivers, Hasselbeck)

I believe both of the Jets QBs have these 2 attributes. the talent around them just wasn't good enough.

hell drew brees is 6'0", doug flutie was 5"10", maybe, both those guys are winners.

Height has nothing to do with good QB play. so STFU, ass

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Clemens will likely never reach that level [of Aikman or Bradshaw], but it's a waste of a draft pick to give up on him now"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Troy Aikman was the first pick OVERALL (of the 1989 draft). He lead his team with a 52.9% completion percentage to a 0-11 record as a starter; he had 9 TDs and 18 Ints.

Terry Bradshaw ws the first pick OVERALL (of the 1970 draft). In his inagural year, he played 13 (out of 14) games with 38.1% completion percentage; he had 6 TDs to 24 Ints.

Year two, Bradshaw threw 13 TD to 22 Ints with completion percentage of 54.4%

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Either call ME crazy, or call this "Bleacher reporter" a douche, but I think 52% and 5 TDs to 10 Ints in his first 8 games makes Clemens exactly comparable if not better than both of these former 1st round, 1st pick overall players that she decided to draw comparisons against. Besides, saying that a player will "likely never" do anything after his first half-season of playing is plain stupidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny that he says the Jets won last year in spite of Clemens, whenever he also claims that Chad "took" the team to the playoffs in 2006.

Your right, couldnt have been Chad leading the team there... must have been that shut down D or that killer run game... dont forget that awesome Oline...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your right, couldnt have been Chad leading the team there... must have been that shut down D or that killer run game... dont forget that awesome Oline...

hey Ecurb are you gonna love Kellen as much as Chad when he leads us to the playoffs this season and deeper in them than Chad ever could?:confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your right, couldnt have been Chad leading the team there... must have been that shut down D or that killer run game... dont forget that awesome Oline...

No, it was the QB that had more turnovers than touchdowns and didn't throw for 200 yards in a game for two months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Clemens will likely never reach that level [of Aikman or Bradshaw], but it's a waste of a draft pick to give up on him now"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Troy Aikman was the first pick OVERALL (of the 1989 draft). He lead his team with a 52.9% completion percentage to a 0-11 record as a starter; he had 9 TDs and 18 Ints.

Terry Bradshaw ws the first pick OVERALL (of the 1970 draft). In his inagural year, he played 13 (out of 14) games with 38.1% completion percentage; he had 6 TDs to 24 Ints.

Year two, Bradshaw threw 13 TD to 22 Ints with completion percentage of 54.4%

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Either call ME crazy, or call this "Bleacher reporter" a douche, but I think 52% and 5 TDs to 10 Ints in his first 8 games makes Clemens exactly comparable if not better than both of these former 1st round, 1st pick overall players that she decided to draw comparisons against. Besides, saying that a player will "likely never" do anything after his first half-season of playing is plain stupidity.

impressive stats. I wonder what the media buzz was at those times regarding aickman and bradshaw? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your right, couldnt have been Chad leading the team there... must have been that shut down D or that killer run game... dont forget that awesome Oline...

The defense gave up the 6th fewest points in the NFL (18.4 ppg)

Including defensive and special teams touchdowns (and any turnovers that gave the offense field position within FG range, and only getting a FG out of it), the Jets scored the 18th most points in the NFL (19.8 ppg). Even excluding the latter & great field position the offense was often afforded, the defense/ST's scored 3 TD's outright (1.3ppg).

Now tell me again which side of the ball was more responsible for winning games.

Pennington was a mediocre player on a mediocre offense that scored mediocre points. The only thing above average was their special teams unit (great field position, pro bowl kick returner, Nugent hitting 90% of his FG's) and the amount of points surrendered by the defense.

But keep crediting Chad Pennington for 10 wins. lol. The chump was so great we were shut out twice in the same season. Oh wait - I forgot. He's only considered the leader when they win. My bad.

He may have had a better career if he never got hurt, but he did. And frankly, that's part of the package that Pennington brings. His body is fragile. Missed games in 4 of the past 5 seasons to injury. So let's keep going with Pennington by all means. Because he surely leads the team to victories they otherwise wouldn't have won with another mediocre QB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...if quarterbacks were only judged by their first eight games, Hall of Famers like Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw would never have gotten a chance. Clemens will likely never reach that level, but it's a waste of a draft pick to give up on him now...

Give Clemens some talent around him, something he sorely lacked last season, and the results should improve, dramatically.

This analyst is afraid to go out on a limb. Clemens will likely never be a Hall of Famer, but with some talent around him his results will improve dramatically... ? Which is it?

I agree with his final analysis: Clemens has to be the starter this year. But why put a ceiling on where he can get as a QB? There's a clear ceiling on Chad Pennington. Clemens is still all about unfulfilled potential. Maybe he will be a Hall of Famer. Maybe he'll suck balls. But the Jets need to find out ASAP. His eight game trial last year behind a pitiful OL throwing to a poor and weakened receiver corps is in no way a fair way to assess him. The writer agrees:

...last season should be used as a way to get his feet wet in preparation for the 2008 season, not as a way to judge him as a bust.

So why even judge him as less than Terry Bradshaw? Give him Swann and Stallworth and see what he can do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey Ecurb are you gonna love Kellen as much as Chad when he leads us to the playoffs this season and deeper in them than Chad ever could?:confused:

Hell yeah, Im a QB kinda guy... cant help it!

I have a #12 jersey and signed picture on my wall too...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...