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Jets owner Johnson happy with QBs Pennington, Clemens

Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Who needs Brett Favre? New York Jets owner Woody Johnson thinks his team is fine at the quarterback position.

"I do like our current quarterbacks, Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens, from almost any aspect," Johnson said Saturday. "When you see these two gentleman, I'm so happy to have them on the team. I think they're capable of taking us where we have to go."

Some fans disagree, saying the Jets would've been better off making a big push for Favre. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the NFL Network on Saturday that the contentious situation between Favre and the Packers could be resolved by Monday after weeks of speculation about the three-time MVP's future.

Pennington and Clemens, who both had shaky seasons last year, are expected to compete until late in training camp before coach Eric Mangini decides on a starter.

"I like everything about them," Johnson said. "Pennington is very smart, accurate. When he's healthy, he doesn't throw picks and he's won a lot of games. Kellen's a little different stylistically, but he's also good."

As far as his rooting interests in Saturday's green-white scrimmage -- Pennington's green team or Clemens' white team -- Johnson took the high road.

"I've got money on both sides," Johnson said with a chuckle.

While Johnson declined to say whether he thought the Jets should pursue Favre, he said general manager Mike Tannenbaum was empowered to make all personnel decisions.

"I don't know if we have any involvement [with Favre]," Johnson said. "I talk to Mike four or five times a day. ... It's his decision. It has to be his decision to run the personnel department. I can't start picking out, I want this and I want that."

Johnson broke bread with the media at Chrebet's restaurant, owned by former Jets star Wayne Chrebet, for an informal luncheon in which he addressed the quarterbacks, his hopes for the team, the pending move to New Jersey and personal seating licenses at the new Meadowlands stadium.

"We're committed to building a championship team. We are," he said. "I mean, I don't go to any game that I don't feel I'm going to win. Never. I may be overly optimistic. Even last year, I thought we were going to win."

Instead, the Jets went from a playoff team in 2006 to a dismal 4-12 season. As a result, the bank was broken open and New York doled out around $140 million to bring established veterans such as Alan Faneca, Kris Jenkins, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson and Calvin Pace into the fold.

"We had the opportunity to pick up what we considered to be very good talent and we thought if the talent's there, why not do it?" Johnson said.

With the big paychecks come even greater expectations, although Johnson said he has not set any mandates on Mangini's job security.

"I think, based on what we look like on paper, I'm very optimistic," he said. "I'm very confident that Eric and Mike and the staffs that they've put together, that they're building a team both now and continuing to down the road."

The Jets will hit the road after training camp when they leave their home at Hofstra University for a lush, state-of-the-art facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Sept. 2 -- five days before the season opener at Miami.

Johnson is sensitive to the Long Island-based fans who have made training camp a part of their summer plans since 1968. He announced Saturday that the team will play its green-white scrimmage at Hofstra every year to maintain some ties to the area.

"We feel very strongly that our DNA and where we came from is Long Island," Johnson said.

Johnson said the team will remain named the New York Jets despite the move to New Jersey and said the new facility "gives us an amazing competitive advantage compared to where we are right now." He added that the franchise tried desperately to find a new facility and stadium in New York, including the failed West Side Project.

"When I bought the team, I said I wanted to put a competitive team on the field and I wanted to move back to New York," he said. "So, we spent the first six years trying to do that. It was a fabulous effort. We left no stone unturned."

Instead, the Jets and Giants partnered on a new $1.3 billion stadium that will replace the current Giants Stadium. Johnson said the team will also follow in the Giants' footsteps in charging fans for the right to buy tickets, or personal seat licenses. The Jets are awaiting the results of questionnaires sent out to season-ticket holders before formulating their plan for the hotly debated PSLs.

"We don't want to alienate anybody," Johnson said. "I didn't get into this business to alienate anybody. We're going to try to be as receptive to any comments the fans made in this particular department. I feel pretty good about coming out with something that is reflective of those values."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Score this round of the Jets' quarterback competition in favor of Chad Pennington -- barely.

Locked in a tight contest with Kellen Clemens for the starting job, Pennington left Hofstra's Shuart Stadium a winner in the team's green-white scrimmage Saturday. He still wasn't quite ready yet to declare victory in the competition.

9635.jpg Clemens

2149.jpg Pennington

"No, that's up to Coach," Pennington said with a smile. "I'm pleased with how our whole team did. We came out here and competed really well."

Pennington's green team beat Clemens' white squad 10-7. Each threw a touchdown pass and had no turnovers in the annual event that is essentially a practice run in gamelike conditions.

"It's always nice when you win, so that's good," Pennington said.

Pennington finished the scrimmage 8-of-14 for 115 yards, including a 27-yard scoring pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Clemens was 8-of-22 for 137 yards, including a pretty, 55-yard TD pass to first-rounder Dustin Keller, and could've had better numbers if not for a few drops by receivers.

"We lost, which always puts a shadow on anything," said Clemens, who has looked better in camp after a shaky start. "All in all, there were some good points. The touchdown to Keller was nice. It showcased his abilities a little bit."

Both quarterbacks played most of the scrimmage and had some good moments in which they effectively ran their offenses despite windy and rainy conditions that forced the teams off the field and the fans to evacuate the stands for 26 minutes in the first half.

"It's tough to give any real assessment," coach Eric Mangini said of the quarterbacks. "As I'm watching this game, part of it is watching those guys, but part of it is watching all the other new guys. Part of it is trying to look at the scheme and how those guys are executing the scheme. There's a lot of new faces to look at. That's really going to come more from the tape than this first look."

Mangini was so pleased with the efforts of both squads, he lifted the team's curfew for Saturday night as a reward.

"I just thought the group, as a whole, did what I was looking for them to do in terms of tempo and effort," he said.

Clemens' team was trailing 10-0 early in the fourth quarter when he saw Keller one-on-one with safety Abram Elam. The speedy tight end caught Clemens' pass in stride and scored, a sight Jets fans are hoping the 30th overall pick provides often this season.

"Kellen put the ball right where it needed to be, so there was no thinking or looking back after that," Keller said. "Just taking off straight to the end zone."

Keller limped off the field late in the scrimmage with an injured left ankle after going for pass thrown into double coverage. The ankle was wrapped heavily while he signed autographs for the fans afterward.

"I'm fine, but I'm not at liberty to discuss injuries," Keller said, citing the team's injury policy.

The Jets' top draft pick, linebacker Vernon Gholston, also made his presence felt when he was credited with a sack early in the scrimmage.

"Obviously, the biggest reason they brought me here was to upgrade the pass rush, so that is one of the things I have to get used to," said the No. 6 overall draft pick, who set Ohio State's single-season sack record. Wide receiver Laveranues Coles (thigh), tight end Chris Baker (back), linebacker David Harris (leg) and running back Jesse Chatman (unspecified) didn't participate while nursing injuries.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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I don't see how it would help the team if Woody came out and said that.

Not if he came out saying they sucked but if he came out with other opinions than just "I'm happy with the situation". Sure you are Woody because you paid for them and you don't want to admit a mistake or mistakes. He doesn't really care about this team, at least not nearly as much as the owners do in New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Giants.

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