In the current quarterback battle going on for the New York Jets, newly drafted rookie, Mark Sanchez has been given the slight edge over Kellen Clemens. New head coach Rex Ryan insisted that last night’s pre-season game vs. the Baltimore Ravens would give good indication on who would come out as a starter, with many thinking Clemens would need to greatly outperform Sanchez to get a leg up in the competition.
So after Sanchez finished his first five series in yesterday’s pre-season game, in which he definitely hit some road blocks (Interception for a touchdown, a dropped interception, a bad sack, fumble, and a touchdown pass), Clemens once again failed to finally seize a golden opportunity to be a starter in the NFL.
As a Jets fan - I can’t stop describing how unenthusiastic I am of Clemens. When the Jets first drafted him in the second round, I was livid that the Jets passed on blue-chip quarterbacks Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler in favor of the combo of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Clemens. In 2007, when Pennington struggled throughout the year, Clemens failed to impress in his place, going 3-5 as a starter, with a passer rating of 60.9.
Although he did have a few good moments, including defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, and being a dropped touchdown by Justin McCareins away from potentially beating the Baltimore Ravens, I still couldn’t wrap my head around how unimpressive he was to watch or that he always holds on to the ball for a second too long. As icing to the cake, that season I attended the Jets home finale verses the Kansas City Chiefs, that pinned Clemens against Brodie Croyle- which was as pleasant as getting your wisdom teeth pulled.
As I joked on Twitter, Clemens reminds me a lot of Charlie Batch, which at this point, would be Clemens’ best case scenario in this league. At the beginning of 2008, everyone wanted Clemens to beat Pennington out for the starting job. After essentially losing that battle, it seemed as if Clemens was relieved that the team traded for Favre, letting him off the hook. Even that pre-season Clemens was heavily out-played by third stringer Brett Ratliff. In fact, as most Jets fans would agree, even if the Sanchez move didn’t happen, Clemens would have most likely lost the starting role to Brett Ratliff this pre-season anyways (Ratliff went to Cleveland in the Sanchez trade).
So when Rex Ryan finally names Mark Sanchez the Jets starting quarterback before the team’s season opener at Houston, it should be noted as another golden opportunity not taken by career back-up, Kellen Clemens.