'Skins Try to Rebound
Fans of the New York Jets have been calling for a quarterback change all season. They'll finally get their wish Sunday, but it remains to be seen if a new signal caller can turn New York's dismal season around.
Kellen Clemens takes over for Chad Pennington under center and tries to help the Jets end a five-game losing streak when they host the Washington Redskins.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Washington -3.5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday's game, the over/under has been set at 35.5 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 95% of bets for this game have been placed on Washington -3.5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
New York is off to a 1-7 start and Pennington's struggles are only part of the problem. While his numbers rank him in the middle of the pack among NFL quarterbacks, he hasn't been able to lead his club to many points.
The Jets are 30th in the league in total offense with 284.3 yards per game and rank 26th in scoring with 17.4 points a contest. Pennington hasn't been helped by the Jets' rushing attack, which is averaging just 90.9 yards per game despite the addition of running back Thomas Jones in the offseason.
"I made this decision not based on singling out Chad for where we are, but based on the fact that I think Kellen has earned this opportunity," coach Eric Mangini said. "I want to give him this opportunity. It's in no way an indication that Chad is solely responsible. We all are."
Clemens has appeared in five games since being taken in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Oregon. He's completed 29 of 60 passes for 362 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
He started in place of an injured Pennington on Sept. 16 in Baltimore, and went 19-for-37 for 260 yards with one TD and two picks in New York's 20-13 loss.
"Getting your first start out of the way I think is pretty big," Clemens said. "So now going into what will be my second start, I feel a lot better, a lot more confident."
The Jets' skid reached five last Sunday when they managed just 254 yards of offense - their second-lowest total of the season - in a 13-3 home defeat to Buffalo.
Pennington had 106 yards on 13 completions and was sacked three times. Clemens replaced him late in the game and was 5-of-12 for 67 yards and two interceptions.
"It's exciting to have the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the chance to play," Clemens said. "At the same time, there's a losing streak right now that this entire team needs to work hard to turn around."
Pennington overcame consecutive rotator cuff operations and won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award last season, when he threw for a career-high 3,352 yards in leading New York to a 10-6 record and a wild-card berth.
This season, he has thrown for 1,317 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games, but has seven interceptions - three that sealed losses - as opposing defensive backs seem to be keying on a lack of arm strength.
"I'm disappointed and it's a frustrating time for me," Pennington said. "At the same time, it's not about me. It's about our team and our team moving forward and I understand that."
Jones has only two 100-yard rushing games and has failed to score a TD after running for 1,210 yards and six scores to help Chicago reach the Super Bowl last season. With the inexperienced Clemens now running the team, Jones might get more carries.
"The coaches coach and I play," said Jones, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. "I'm a player and I go out and do what they ask me to do. I get paid to do what they ask me to do to the best of my ability. The coaches coach. I have confidence in them that they are going to make the right decisions and they have confidence in me that I'm going to go out there and perform what I have to."
Washington (4-3) gets a chance to bounce back against one of the worst teams in the NFL after being routed 52-7 last week by New England, likely the league's top club.
The Redskins allowed season highs in points, total yards (486), passing yards (334) and rushing yards (154). They also committed a season-worst four turnovers and held the ball for just 22 minutes, 11 seconds.
It was Washington's worst loss since a 53-0 defeat to the New York Giants during its 1-12-1 season of 1961.
"If you get down in the dumps for losing against a team like that, you shouldn't be here," receiver Santana Moss said. "What's done is done. They showed us how they were, and we had nothing to answer for it. All we can do is look at it and feel awful about it, or look at it and say 'Hey, we experienced it, and let's try not to go that route again.'"
This will be Moss' first game against his former team since New York traded him to Washington for fellow receiver Laveranues Coles in March 2005. The Jets selected Moss with the 16th overall pick in the 2001 draft, and he caught 151 passes for 2,416 yards and 19 TDs in four seasons with New York.
Coles, meanwhile, started his career with the Jets before leaving after three seasons to sign a seven-year deal with Washington in March 2003. He might not be on the field Sunday, however, as he suffered a concussion late in the loss to Buffalo when he jumped to catch a pass from Pennington and was immediately hit in the middle of the back by Terrence McGee.
``Any time you have an injury it is scary,'' Mangini said Wednesday. ``With a guy like Laveranues who is so tough, you have to be careful and make sure you go through the same process that you would go through with every other player. That is what we are doing.''
The Redskins are 7-1 all-time against the Jets.
By: Staff Writers - Email Us
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