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Clemens Joins Brunell in Backup Scrum

Posted by Randy Lange on August 4, 2010 – 9:11 am

The backup quarterback battle will be joined at today’s third day of Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland.

Kellen Clemens, who was rehabbing a calf issue, passed his second conditioning test in two days at 6 a.m. Tuesday and was cleared to return to practice Tuesday morning. His reps were limited yesterday — “I wasn’t completely complaining about that,” he said. “My legs were pretty tired coming off all the running and stuff.”

His reps this morning were also limited, but today’s afternoon session could signal the start of the Jets’ seemingly annual QB camp competition, although needless to say this year’s derby is not for the win position but for place and show.

And while everyone has thoughts and theories of how the depth chart should line up behind starter Mark Sanchez, no one and certainly not head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have said that the positions have been settled. For instance, many supposed that with the signing of Mark Brunell would come the release of Clemens.

Guess what. KC is still standing.

“There’s no reason why it couldn’t be me and the two Marks and Kevin [O'Connell],” Clemens said, leaving off Erik Ainge, who for now remains on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list. “They’ve mentioned that they’d like to only carry three quarterbacks this year, but plans change. They might cut it all the way down to two. Brad Smith is a very talented player, too.”

Brunell for sure came in on Monday and showed why he’s lasted 17 NFL seasons as he unselfconsciously barked signals and fired completions downfield while also deftly checking down and occasionally tossing the ball away under pressure.

“I’m still a player, man,” Brunell said playfully but pointedly to a reporter suggesting his role on the Jets might be purely as a non-participating mentor. “I’m wearing the shoulder pads. When I’m in there, it’s my job to move the team. Because of my experience I can help young guys like Kevin, Mark, obviously, and even Kellen. I’ve been around awhile. But I am a player.”

“He was impressive out there,” Ryan said of Brunell’s first practice. “He really looks good.”

But Clemens is far from throwing in the green and white towel. That was clear when he reported to the Jets’ SUNY Cortland dorms Sunday and was asked one of those simple, direct, perhaps loaded questions: Why are you here?

“I’m here because I can play, and I can play well, and they know that,” Clemens said with conviction.

“It’s an interesting situation,” he told me with a smile and a laugh two days later. “I’ve been through it. You get the surprises of Brett Favre showing up and all of a sudden Chad Pennington’s gone. Then they draft Mark and there’s a competition. It’s just part of this game. And unfortunately I’m starting to get used to kind of the uncertainty that sometimes comes with it. So you just have to deal with it. You don’t have much of a choice.”

“I’m certainly not trying to belittle the situation and say it’s a cakewalk because it’s not,” he continued about that uncertainty of his position. “It’s taken a lot of patience and a lot of prayer and support from family and friends back home.”

And this morning KC is coming out throwing and following his mantra for this situation: “Make the most with the reps you get and be ready when your number’s called.”

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Posted in Randy Lange | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Clemens Joins Brunell in Backup Scrum”

  1. By Hogan on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    KC is a class act all the way. Its to bad he is not really a compitent back up. I feel better with 40yr old Brunell.

  2. By 37 year fan on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    Very dissappointing to hear Ainge entering rehab . I would have loved to see him get the keys to this ferrari in the pre season . With all the weapons we have now . Still think we will cut K.C. Brunell and OConnell are good .

  3. By TMac on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    Seems to me that this is all designed to make “Hard Knocks” (HBO) just that…
    What a circus!

  4. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, Hogan and Ainge, good attitude for KC, bad situation with Ainge. I wish KC luck but MS, Brunell, and O’Connell as 3rd inactive QB if Ainge is out of the picture is plenty QBs. If MS and Brunell go down for more than a few games you’re not goin’ anywhere post-season anyway.

  5. By ICO on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    We all know from last years pre-season games that Ainge can throw. KC with his year backing up Favre is worth more than most people think, especially with Ainge apparently sidelined. I didn’t really look at O’Connell, but I will keep an eye on him. If anything, he has a nice Irish name. Brunell is a very good move, second string or not.

  6. By Randy on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    KC is the best choice but if he wont get a shot with the Jets theyve already proven that. Trade him anywhere so I get to watch him come back and whoop some BUTT. GO KC

  7. By GaryC on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    nice hearing good things about connor, when jets drafted him I said he must remind Rex of Leron McClain who he had at Baltimore.hopefully he is just as successful.

  8. By coat on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Randy you didn’t post a comment on the qb’s on the roster particularly Ainge now that the cat is out of the bag you should let everybody know

  9. By coat on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

    having said that I truly wish him well and a speedy recovery I liked him coming out of college unfortunately his nfl days are probably finised

  10. By Mike Jet Vet on Aug 5, 2010 | Reply

    Here’s my thoughts about our QB situation its been a merry go round to say the least bordering on total incompendence .. 1st bring in Brett-F takes us 8-3 leading AFC EAST gets hurt experiment over let him go for not one player no compensation nothing yet he has his best season in 20 for Vikes ..next take KC can anyone truly believe unless every QB on the face of the earth suddenly disappeared his job will be …..huh ….I got nothing .. Next Ainge Randy Randy Randy I’ve been clamoring ranting going on and on about Ainge more then 2 seasons and notta now supposedly a drug problem or whatever they call it these days when putting them on the unable to preform list looking to sweep it under the rug.. M-S is yet to be determined Mark Brunell well what can I say OH YEAH we need another backup QB like we need another backup QB

  11. By Ray on Aug 5, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, the blogger, sorry but the only place your gonna see KC traded where he comes back to “whoop butt” in in your PS3…. that’s the only field he’ll ever have the chance of being a starter. I don’t see them keeping KC when they have dumped every other guy they can think of if it will save them a nickel…. I think they are doing right by Kellen and letting him try and impress some teams so when they do cut him he’ll have more than one or two teams to go to. You know the Pats and Phish would love him as a #3….I bet they would pay him alot of money to pick his brain about the offense.

  12. By Row on Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

    I still think they will keep KC and have Brunell as the third starter. No one in their right mind would have Brunell as a #2 because the only way the 3rd guy could get in is if he got hurt.

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