While Jets Nation sits back and waits for new hotshot coach Eric Mangini to finally make a choice as his starting quarterback, no one should belive for a second that it will not be veteran Chad Pennington. Mangini for some unknown reason on Sunday declared that he was still unsure of who his starter will be at quarterback when the Jets take the field opening day in Tennessee. Why? Pennington, in watching the game against the Giants over the weekend, clearly looked like the best quarterback option that the Jets currently have. He was sharp with some passes, and while he did not lead the Jets on a scoring drive, he clearly has the confidence to lead the team into what is going to be a rocky 2006. Pennington has yet to lead the Jets on a scoring drive in 10 preseason possessions, and has a QB rating of 60.8, but trust me, he still is heads and shoulders above any other thrower on the roster.
Mangini is acting like he is making a choice between Ken O’Brien, Joe Namath, and Boomer Esiason, and not Pennington, Brooks Bollinger, Patrick Ramsey and Kellen Clemens. Pennington went 11-for-20 for 125 yards in Friday’s loss to the Giants. He made several throws he said showed improvement over his performance in the preseason opener, when he went 9-for-14 for 54 yards. Again, not staggering numbers, but for where this organization is at, going with the vet is clearly the best decision. So what happens if Pennington comes out opening day and stinks up the joint? You pull him. No harm, no foul. Everyone knows that the Jets are a team that could be one of the very worst in the AFC this season, and playing Pennington is the safe bet.
As for Mangini, waiting on making this decision is not a good start to a coaching career that he hopes won’t be one of the shorter ones in New York history. No one would blame him for making the choice of Pennington, simply out of default. But by putting the media and the fans on notice by making them wait, he looks more foolish than smart. I don’t know, maybe he’s waiting for a phone call back from Browning Nagle to see if he’s available for a series in the teams last preseason game.