After a 35-24 loss to the Giants Sunday, the hot topic concerning what is becoming a season slipping away for the Jets had everything to do with who should be taking the snaps under center. Jets coach Eric Mangini stated after the game that the job still belongs to Chad Pennington, but if you can read body language from Mangini and the team, you know that the era of Kellen Clemens is closer to starting now more than ever. The Jets sit at 1-4, and now might just be the time to see what Clemens can do with some consecutive playing time. He started and ended up playing pretty well against the Ravens in week two when Pennington was hurt, but since has not sniffed the field. That might all change with another Pennington outing like Sunday vs the Giants.
Pennington has thrown five picks in the last two games, losses to the Bills and Giants. Sunday the Jets were rolling, then the defense took a nap, Pennington and the offense stalled, and suddenly the Giants rallied, rolling off points in bunches, and were able to rally for the 11-point win. Even with the offense unable to do much, Mangini only would say this about the QB spot – “Chad is the starting quarterback.”
Pennington, much like Rex Grossman in Chicago, seems to be wearing rose colored glasses about the situation, and does not seem worried about getting replaced. “I don’t have any concern,” Pennington said. “My whole concern is me and what I can do to get better and become a better quarterback. I see plays out there where I really see myself making improvement throwing the ball down the field,” he said. “We had some big-time down-the-field completions. Then you take two plays, and it just ruins the whole day. That’s what it boils down to.”
The play that haunts Jets fans the most came in the 4th quarter with the Jets trying to drive ahead for the go-ahead score. Pennington threw a bad pass, and it was returned 43 yards for a score by Giants rookie Aaron Ross. Game over, and Chad is to blame on that one, as he threw behind intended receiver Jerricho Cotchery and Ross jumped the route, leading to the easy pick and score.
Now it’s Mangini’s turn to make the easy pick. If you want to save your season Eric, take a shot with Clemens – he might just be the answer your looking for.