Jets Rumors & News
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Chad Pennington came in and played admirably in place of the injured Kellen Clemens on Saturday in Foxborough. It was later learned that Clemens could have returned, but Eric Mangini chose to stick with Pennington in a game that was close until the very end.

One can only assume that Mangini felt Pennington gave his team the best chance to hand the Patriots their first loss of the season. Although it didn’t happen, what did come out of Pennington’s valiant effort is a swirling QB controversy. Who will start on Sunday in Tennessee? Who should start? And why?

Mangini was asked several times who his starter will be in the Monday press conference, and in typical Mangini-fashion, like a Rockette at Radio City, danced around the question. Via Mark Cannizzaro’s column in the NY Post:

“We’ve got to see where Kellen is in terms of the injury,” Mangini said. “I think Kellen has done a lot of good things and there’s a lot of things that he’s still growing into and learning about with experience.

“On the other side, I thought Chad did a really nice job in the role that he has, to have limited reps and come in and execute all the different things we asked him to execute. That to me is classic Chad.”

Obviously, you have some thought (about who’ll start) in your head, right?” Mangini was asked.

“No, it’s really just about evaluating where he is injury-wise, then we’ll go throughout the whole week, we’ll see where it is,” Mangini said.

Will the decision to play Clemens or not be based on his medical condition?

“Yeah, that will definitely play a big part in it, to see where he is in terms of the injury and all those things,” Mangini said. “We’ll just see how the week plays out.”

Mangini’s reason for benching Pennington was to give Clemens the opportunity to play and the Jets a chance to see if he could be their QB of the future. By doing so, the Jets more or less made the statement that Pennington is not the QB of the future, and in fact, unless he’s willing to take a big pay cut to stand on the sideline with a clipboard next season, most likely will be playing in a Ravens’ uniform.

If Clemens is healthy enough to start and doesn’t, the assumption now becomes that the Jets have decided Clemens is not the QB of the future. His statistics are average at best (52% completions, 4 TD’s, 10 INT’s, 59.0 QB rating), and certainly the Jets can’t comfortably state from what they’ve seen that he will go into camp in July as the #1 QB.

So that being said, Clemens needs these last two games to prove he is the QB of the future, or demonstrate to the Jets that he’s not.

Mangini did state that he hopes to know today if Clemens is healthy enough to go and “have a good idea” who will go as the starter. But don’t expect him to announce it.

My prediction is that Mangini, in his best Rockette performance, will dance around Clemens’ injury prognosis all week, allowing him the opportunity to make a game-day, or even in-game, decision without further rocking the boat (or jet, in this case).

Jon Buzby is a nationally-syndicated columnist who can be reached through his website at www.jonbuzby.com.

 

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