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Rex Ryan making right choice in giving veteran QB Kellen Clemens a chance


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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets have come to this bucolic town to make a clean break from the past and begin a new era in franchise history. So what was the first thing they saw when they arrived?

A Brett Favre jersey, of course.

Andrew Cummings greeted the players as they stepped off the bus on the SUNY-Cortland campus, and they'll have to forgive him for not updating his wardrobe.

The 7-year-old boy with golden blond hair is not quite up to speed on the new quarterback of his favorite team.

"I don't know what his name is," the kid said sheepishly, which is understandable, because that name might come as a surprise to even some of the hard-core fans as training camp begins.

Kellen Clemens is No. 1 on the depth chart, not the hotshot rookie with the big arm and bigger contract.

First-year head coach Rex Ryan made that announcement Thursday, and it was the right one.

Clemens has four more years of NFL experience than Mark Sanchez, and more importantly, has the confidence of the Jets veterans who won't have patience for growing pains.

So Clemens is the lead horse -- for now. Ryan now must follow through and make this a truly open competition in the coming weeks, not a coronation for the kid from Southern Cal.

The coach owes that not only to Clemens, but to the entire team. This will be his first major decision, and if he goes with the untested rookie, the kid better be the right man for the job.

Will Ryan have the guts to bench Sanchez if the kid isn't ready? His credibility in the locker room depends on it. The best quarterback needs to emerge as the starter this month, even if that guy doesn't have the $50 million contract and the shirtless magazine spreads.

"This is a business concentrated on one thing: winning football games," Clemens said after he settled into his dorm room here. "The Jets are going to put the best player out there at every position regardless of pay. We're all working to be that player at a given position."

As usual, Clemens was the perfect diplomat when asked about his situation -- which is admirable, considering the Jets have twice built their offseason around trying to replace him.

First it was Favre, the aging legend who turned a routine training camp into a circus last summer. Clemens was handed the clipboard and sent to the corner when he arrived, and did so without complaint.

Now comes Sanchez, and you just know owner Woody Johnson is dying to put his smiling face on billboards to help sell those pesky PSLs. Sanchez is the future of this franchise.

But this is a team built to win now.

"I'm coming along as fast as I can, learning quite a bit along the way, and I'm picking up (the offense) just fine," Sanchez said. "There's room to make up there, but I'm excited about the challenge."

Even the best quarterbacks, from John Elway to Peyton Manning, struggled as rookies. After one season as a college starter, Sanchez not only has to learn the system but adjust to the NFL. He might have had a great season with Southern Cal, but Stanford is not on the schedule.

Sanchez might win the job on talent. The safe bet is the four-year veteran who, in his words, "already knows the system as good as anybody in the building" other than his offensive coordinator.

Clemens only has eight starts under his belt, but they came in the 2007 season behind an awful offensive line. The Jets have not seen enough from him to know if he's a capable starter.

That process begins now. Ryan wants to model his offense after the one in Baltimore last season, where the quarterback does not need to be a superstar, just smart with the football.

The Ravens won with rookie Joe Flacco last season, but in league history, that's more the exception than the norm. Clemens enters this training camp as the No. 1 quarterback, and if Ryan is true to his words, he'll have an opportunity to make everyone forget about Favre.

And, for now, Sanchez.

"There's an opportunity out there to play for the guy who proves he can help this football team," Clemens said. "And I believe that guy is me."

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all I know is this; Kellen Clemens is a class act who has never gotten a real chance with this team. I'd hate to see him thrown on the scrapheap before we really know for sure if he is, or isn't the real deal. That would hurt the Jets more than Vernon Gholston if he ends up a bust. Remember; he's a second round DP who a lot of people thought would have been a first had he not broken his leg. It could only serve us well if this turns into a Philip Rivers/ Drew Brees type deal.

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Why am I coming around to the idea of Clemens starting?!? This is madness.

because we have nothing to lose in that scenario 1-7 and only to gain.If Kellen turns out to be a damn good QB then it increases his trade value,because there are a lot of teams that need a good QB.

We all know whose team this is going to be. You don't pay a guy 50 million bucks to let him wallow on the bench indefinitely. Let's say Clemens opens the season starting (he knows Schotty's offense better than anyone) and goes out there and beats Houston and New England at home, then we have an embarrassment of riches. If he starts out with any more than 2 losses the first 4 weeks then we turn the team over to the kid. TBH I hope it works out that way.

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because we have nothing to lose in that scenario 1-7 and only to gain.If Kellen turns out to be a damn good QB then it increases his trade value,because there are a lot of teams that need a good QB.

We all know whose team this is going to be. You don't pay a guy 50 million bucks to let him wallow on the bench indefinitely. Let's say Clemens opens the season starting (he knows Schotty's offense better than anyone) and goes out there and beats Houston and New England at home, then we have an embarrassment of riches. If he starts out with any more than 2 losses the first 4 weeks then we turn the team over to the kid. TBH I hope it works out that way.

Kinda like Cutler in 06, stepped in midsesason and competed pretty well.

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Kinda like Cutler in 06, stepped in midsesason and competed pretty well.

exactly bro, only that Shanahan made the boldest move I think I've ever seen a HC make that year. They were on their way to the playoffs in a weak division with Jake Plummer when Denver made that move. But yea, let us, the team, and the rest of the league see what we have to offer in April at draft time. You think that say Minnesota or Oakland wouldn't love to have Kellen Clemens right now?

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He didn't do that bad in 07 considering the O-line was trash and he should have won his first start in Baltimore but McCraphands couldn't catch a damn cold. He went 3-5 in 07 but could have been 4-4. Not bad for a second year guy on a bad team compared to the vet pennington who was 1-7 as the starter and coming off of a good year in 06.

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He didn't do that bad in 07 considering the O-line was trash and he should have won his first start in Baltimore but McCraphands couldn't catch a damn cold. He went 3-5 in 07 but could have been 4-4. Not bad for a second year guy on a bad team compared to the vet pennington who was 1-7 as the starter and coming off of a good year in 06.

You can also possibly add in there that ****ty Cleveland game where he almost led us back to a win late in the game, after our D did absolutely nothing. So, you could say he very well could have been 5-3 that yr instead of 3-5. He def. deserves the chance while Sanchez continues to learn. UNLESS, what we see out of Sanchez in preseason is absolutely ridiculous on the positive side, then maybe I say start him out.

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If he performs the best of the two quarterbacks, he should start no questions asked. However, I can't understand how people can say he was never given a fair shake. Last year, he was given every opportunity to win the starting job from Chad Pennington. Clemens performed so badly that the Jets faced with a prospect of going into another season with Pennington, traded for Brett Favre. Had Clemens been winning, Favre would never have become a Jet.

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because we have nothing to lose in that scenario 1-7

Please don't say 1-7! It's too much of a possiblity.

He didn't do that bad in 07 considering the O-line was trash and he should have won his first start in Baltimore but McCraphands couldn't catch a damn cold. He went 3-5 in 07 but could have been 4-4. Not bad for a second year guy on a bad team compared to the vet pennington who was 1-7 as the starter and coming off of a good year in 06.

You can also possibly add in there that ****ty Cleveland game where he almost led us back to a win late in the game, after our D did absolutely nothing. So, you could say he very well could have been 5-3 that yr instead of 3-5. He def. deserves the chance while Sanchez continues to learn. UNLESS, what we see out of Sanchez in preseason is absolutely ridiculous on the positive side, then maybe I say start him out.

Clemens didn't "almost win the Baltimore game". He almost tied it and he played like a flaming bag of **** for 3 quarters. You want to give him credit for the Browns game? Didn't he throw 2 picks and for about 50% completion percentage? Much like the Ravens game he did most of his damage late against a prevent. Almost 5-3? He was 3-5. They won against Pittsburgh and if you take away the flea flicker he probably didn't even throw for 100 yards. Hell, he barely beat the Chiefs!

You can give Clemens a pass for being an inexperienced QB on a team with a ****ty line, but no matter how you slice it, he sucked in 2007. He threw twice as many INTs as TDs, averaged 150 yards a game and looked scared and incompetent in the pocket. He threw 5 TDs in 8 starts/10 games. I can buy that things will be different now, I've seen crappier looking players turn out well. Eli probably looked worse as a rookie. I just can't buy anybody trying to sell me that Clemens wasn't bad in 2007.

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There's no other move but to open camp with Kellen as the starter. None. He's the veteran, and veterans trust other vets over rookies. But in the end, Kellen isn't Jake Plummer, John Kitna, or Kurt Warner. He just doesn't have that body of work, and has far less of a guarantee to hold onto the #1 spot once the season starts.

[Kellen] def. deserves the chance while Sanchez continues to learn. UNLESS, what we see out of Sanchez in preseason is absolutely ridiculous on the positive side, then maybe I say start him out.

I think it's the opposite. I think Kellen will have to blow out Sanchez to start the opener. A tie goes to Sanchez, as does a slim Clemens victory. Outside of a blowout, Kellen could get the nod if both QB's suck. That would give their more expensive sucky QB some more time to get up to speed while the fans turn on Clemens. But obviously, that's not the option most fans would want.

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Kinda like Cutler in 06, stepped in midsesason and competed pretty well.

exactly bro, only that Shanahan made the boldest move I think I've ever seen a HC make that year. They were on their way to the playoffs in a weak division with Jake Plummer when Denver made that move. But yea, let us, the team, and the rest of the league see what we have to offer in April at draft time. You think that say Minnesota or Oakland wouldn't love to have Kellen Clemens right now?

...and the Broncos missed the playoffs, haven't made it since and Shanahan is out of work.

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There's no other move but to open camp with Kellen as the starter. None. He's the veteran, and veterans trust other vets over rookies.

Except that veterans will also know that any snap Kellen takes as a starter is one of his LAST snaps as a starter until Sanchez is either ready to play, or the Jets need a good PR shot in the arm if they suck and people are still throwing their PSL notices into the Tuesday recycling bin. Vets might not appreciate the dog and pony show of starting Clemens just to start him.

Plus, you also create the problem if--and I know it's unlikely--Clemens comes out and plays so well that you never get Sanchez on the field this year. If Clemens plays relaitively decently (as he's shown he can do, in spurts), and the Jets are, say, 5 and 3 at mid-season, can you realistically pull the plug? Will Woody interfere? Will he panic, knowing that ain't nobody ponying up $20K to watch a Clemens-led team in 2010 that just won eight, nine games this season.

The point is, at some point, the rug will come out under Clemens' feet this year. If you think that Rex is going to start him now just to placate the vets, then how does Rex dump him later on, especially is he's not terrible?

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Do you people really think that Kellen Clemens has the support of the vets? He has done nothing and most people were claiming that it was the vets in the lockerroom that caused them to keep starting Pennington. Now all of a sudden they are rallying around Clemens so that it will be impossible to start Sanchez? If either of them plays well enough to earn the support of the vets they deserve to start. Let the better man win. We'll be in enough trouble with the better of the two starting.

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Except that veterans will also know that any snap Kellen takes as a starter is one of his LAST snaps as a starter until Sanchez is either ready to play, or the Jets need a good PR shot in the arm if they suck and people are still throwing their PSL notices into the Tuesday recycling bin. Vets might not appreciate the dog and pony show of starting Clemens just to start him.

Plus, you also create the problem if--and I know it's unlikely--Clemens comes out and plays so well that you never get Sanchez on the field this year. If Clemens plays relaitively decently (as he's shown he can do, in spurts), and the Jets are, say, 5 and 3 at mid-season, can you realistically pull the plug? Will Woody interfere? Will he panic, knowing that ain't nobody ponying up $20K to watch a Clemens-led team in 2010 that just won eight, nine games this season.

The point is, at some point, the rug will come out under Clemens' feet this year. If you think that Rex is going to start him now just to placate the vets, then how does Rex dump him later on, especially is he's not terrible?

If we're 5-3 and Clemens is playing well, that won't happen.

The reason it happened in Denver is because Jake Plummer was not a catalyst in the team's winning. He was a liability.

Winning sells tickets, not flashy rookies.

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Except that veterans will also know that any snap Kellen takes as a starter is one of his LAST snaps as a starter until Sanchez is either ready to play, or the Jets need a good PR shot in the arm if they suck and people are still throwing their PSL notices into the Tuesday recycling bin. Vets might not appreciate the dog and pony show of starting Clemens just to start him.

Plus, you also create the problem if--and I know it's unlikely--Clemens comes out and plays so well that you never get Sanchez on the field this year. If Clemens plays relaitively decently (as he's shown he can do, in spurts), and the Jets are, say, 5 and 3 at mid-season, can you realistically pull the plug? Will Woody interfere? Will he panic, knowing that ain't nobody ponying up $20K to watch a Clemens-led team in 2010 that just won eight, nine games this season.

The point is, at some point, the rug will come out under Clemens' feet this year. If you think that Rex is going to start him now just to placate the vets, then how does Rex dump him later on, especially is he's not terrible?

I don't think there was any possible way that Ryan could've named Sanchez the #1 to open camp. If someone has to be listed as the #1, that had to be Clemens. That's only right. The team will want the best QB out on the field, but it would've been a kick in the face to every vet on the squad if Clemens wasn't given the benefit of seniority to open camp.

As I said earlier, I think Sanchez will be graded on a curve. If Clemens is slightly ahead at the end of camp, I think Sanchez will get the nod. We should know by the third preseason game. Rex should have his starter by then, and play him for three quarters of that game. If he's still swapping possessions that week, we're in trouble.

Personally, should Clemens win the job, I don't see the possiblity of him playing well as a bad thing. If the Jets could tag and trade Clemens the way the Chargers and Pats did with their QB's, that would be a wonderful thing. Given what our QB's have to work with though, I don't see either one of them lighting it up.

And let's face it, if Sanchez can't take this job from Clemens by the mid-season point -whether the Jets are winning or not!- the future is dim.

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I don't think there was any possible way that Ryan could've named Sanchez the #1 to open camp. If someone has to be listed as the #1, that had to be Clemens. That's only right. The team will want the best QB out on the field, but it would've been a kick in the face to every vet on the squad if Clemens wasn't given the benefit of seniority to open camp.

As I said earlier, I think Sanchez will be graded on a curve. If Clemens is slightly ahead at the end of camp, I think Sanchez will get the nod. We should know by the third preseason game. Rex should have his starter by then, and play him for three quarters of that game. If he's still swapping possessions that week, we're in trouble.

Personally, should Clemens win the job, I don't see the possiblity of him playing well as a bad thing. If the Jets could tag and trade Clemens the way the Chargers and Pats did with their QB's, that would be a wonderful thing. Given what our QB's have to work with though, I don't see either one of them lighting it up.

And let's face it, if Sanchez can't take this job from Clemens by the mid-season point -whether the Jets are winning or not!- the future is dim.

My bad, slats. I thought you were talking about opening the season with Clemens.

My view on the problem of Clemens playing well is that I think the wheels are in motion to make Sanchez the face of the NEW new new Jets, and that Clemens really has no role on this team. Even if he plays well, ("well" being used here as a relative term), there will be tremendous pressure on Rex to start Sanchez. And unless Clemens comes out and plays like an MVP, it just becomes a waiting game before he is unceremoniously yanked.

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Except that veterans will also know that any snap Kellen takes as a starter is one of his LAST snaps as a starter until Sanchez is either ready to play, or the Jets need a good PR shot in the arm if they suck and people are still throwing their PSL notices into the Tuesday recycling bin. Vets might not appreciate the dog and pony show of starting Clemens just to start him.

Plus, you also create the problem if--and I know it's unlikely--Clemens comes out and plays so well that you never get Sanchez on the field this year. If Clemens plays relaitively decently (as he's shown he can do, in spurts), and the Jets are, say, 5 and 3 at mid-season, can you realistically pull the plug? Will Woody interfere? Will he panic, knowing that ain't nobody ponying up $20K to watch a Clemens-led team in 2010 that just won eight, nine games this season.

The point is, at some point, the rug will come out under Clemens' feet this year. If you think that Rex is going to start him now just to placate the vets, then how does Rex dump him later on, especially is he's not terrible?

Why can't he just play if he plays well and not play if he doesn't and the rookie is ready?

Sports suck when people complicate it with drivel. People care about winning...if the Jets are winning then Woody will see his money...Clemens or the Super Rookie.

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i have said this since the beginning.. i think Clemens is probably a really nice guy, but a starting NFL QB? nope.

he just doesnt have a good ability to see the field.. i have more pocket presence then he does ( ok maybe not, but you get the idea) and yes i know that the O-line was swiss cheese back then, but there were games i was at, where the line was holding, and he had tons of time, and i could see easily the open receivers, and all he did was throw the ball away.. honestly, nice guy, but back up i think.

i am not saying sanchez is the answer.. i think our passing game is going to be an issue.. that is why we need to wrap up our running core.

imho

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Why am I coming around to the idea of Clemens starting?!? This is madness.

I want Mark Sanchez to start week 1 badly. But it's better for him to WIN the job. I hope this situation turns out like the Brees-Rivers. However, Clemens is no Brees.

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But Cutler is now a developed franchise QB. Isn't that the goal with Sanchez?

...and throw away three seasons? At the time Cutler took over the Broncos were coming off three straight double digit win playoff seasons. They were 7-4. They haven't made it since, have fired the coach, traded the QB and are in full on rebuilding mode. Rest assured, that's NOT my goal.

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Why am I coming around to the idea of Clemens starting?!? This is madness.

it's better for the teams psyche to go from clemens to sanchez in october than from sanchez to clemens in october

rexy made the right call, now may the best man win

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As you all know i've been the biggest Clemens supporter on this site for the past 2 yrs. That said i want everyone to know that i have never disliked Mark or his chances of being our starter. I simply was just worried that we may not have made the best decision as to what we NEEDED at the moment on draft day (i was wanting a wr badly). The biggest reason i was against the sanchez pick was because i never believed Clemens was nearly as terrible as some fans here made him out to be. I personally think throwing to 3rd string wrs and playing behind a 2nd tier level oline is no way to start a career at qb or most importantly decide a career,entering the season at 1-7 no less . I want to make darn sure we dont already have a diamond in the rough at qb in Clemens, before he's shot down by fans,media,and coaches when (yes,he hasnt played on a decent team yet in his short nfl career). I have seen many rookies and second year qbs look like crap on crap teams,yet resurrect their careers into a successful one. If Dilfer can win a superbowl so can Clemens. But hey guys i mean this honestly if Mark turns out to be the better qb after camp so be it,and i'm behind him 100% because im a jetsfan and always will be. Go Mark,Go Kellen...and Go Jets! :D

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As you all know i've been the biggest Clemens supporter on this site for the past 2 yrs. That said i want everyone to know that i have never disliked Mark or his chances of being our starter. I simply was just worried that we may not have made the best decision as to what we NEEDED at the moment on draft day (i was wanting a wr badly). The biggest reason i was against the sanchez pick was because i never believed Clemens was nearly as terrible as some fans here made him out to be. I personally think throwing to 3rd string wrs and playing behind a 2nd tier level oline is no way to start a career at qb or most importantly decide a career,entering the season at 1-7 no less . I want to make darn sure we dont already have a diamond in the rough at qb in Clemens, before he's shot down by fans,media,and coaches when (yes,he hasnt played on a decent team yet in his short nfl career). I have seen many rookies and second year qbs look like crap on crap teams,yet resurrect their careers into a successful one. If Dilfer can win a superbowl so can Clemens. But hey guys i mean this honestly if Mark turns out to be the better qb after camp so be it,and i'm behind him 100% because im a jetsfan and always will be. Go Mark,Go Kellen...and Go Jets! :D

;)

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As you all know i've been the biggest Clemens supporter on this site for the past 2 yrs. That said i want everyone to know that i have never disliked Mark or his chances of being our starter. I simply was just worried that we may not have made the best decision as to what we NEEDED at the moment on draft day (i was wanting a wr badly). The biggest reason i was against the sanchez pick was because i never believed Clemens was nearly as terrible as some fans here made him out to be. I personally think throwing to 3rd string wrs and playing behind a 2nd tier level oline is no way to start a career at qb or most importantly decide a career,entering the season at 1-7 no less . I want to make darn sure we dont already have a diamond in the rough at qb in Clemens, before he's shot down by fans,media,and coaches when (yes,he hasnt played on a decent team yet in his short nfl career). I have seen many rookies and second year qbs look like crap on crap teams,yet resurrect their careers into a successful one. If Dilfer can win a superbowl so can Clemens. But hey guys i mean this honestly if Mark turns out to be the better qb after camp so be it,and i'm behind him 100% because im a jetsfan and always will be. Go Mark,Go Kellen...and Go Jets! :D

I agree with much of this. The draft picks could have been better spent, imo, and if they were so hard up for a QB, next year's draft has a chance to be a historic one for the position with Bradford, Snead and Tebow, etc. Considering that Sanchez is inexperienced for a collegiate, and that it will probably take him two years to get up to speed anyway, why the rush? Other than to market PSL's, I mean.

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