Clemens has a few more games to show the Jets he can be their starting QB Print
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Wednesday, 28 November 2007 13:16
NFL Headline News

 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Kellen Clemens has five more weeks to prove he's the New York Jets' quarterback of the future.
If he's feeling any pressure, he's not letting on.
``Next year, right now for me, is five games away,'' Clemens said Wednesday. ``Right now, my focus is entirely on Miami.''
The Jets play the winless Dolphins at Miami on Sunday, and it's another opportunity for Clemens to have the breakout game everyone hoped for when he replaced Chad Pennington as the starting quarterback nearly a month ago.
``My preparation isn't going to change,'' Clemens said. ``It hasn't changed each week and it won't change going forward. I'm going to prepare as best I can so that on Sunday when that first whistle blows, we can be off and running, hopefully.''
Clemens, the Jets' second-round draft pick last year, needs to give the team confidence he can be the starter next season.
After four starts, including the last three games, he's the lowest-rated quarterback with more than 140 attempts at 56.9. He has completed just 49.1 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
Though his strong arm was expected to stretch the field more than Pennington has, Clemens is averaging only 5.61 yards per attempt.
``It's still really early in his career, so he's going to have good times and bad times,'' tight end Chris Baker said earlier this week. ``We need to pick up the play around him to help him out.''
Clemens could be in for a tough time Sunday if his two best targets can't play.
Jerricho Cotchery, who leads the team with 54 catches for 730 yards and a touchdown, missed practice Wednesday with what was described only as a finger injury. Coach Eric Mangini didn't mention the injury in his news conference, and Cotchery wasn't seen during the locker room period or on the practice field.
Laveranues Coles, who has 43 catches for 529 yards and six TDs, was limited in practice by an ankle injury that sidelined him for the Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys. After playing in 107 straight games, Coles has missed two of the last three games.
``Laveranues is obviously a great player and a very talented wide receiver,'' Clemens said. ``But we try to focus on the guys who are on the field and who were able to contribute and help us out that week.''
Clemens is coming off his worst game in two NFL seasons, going 12-of-27 for 142 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown against Dallas.
``It was a frustrating day on Thanksgiving Day, and then it was frustrating to watch it again on tape on Friday,'' he said.
The 34-3 loss came just four days after Clemens helped the Jets pull off a stunning upset victory over Pittsburgh.
``We don't necessarily have to worry about bouncing back,'' Clemens said. ``We were beaten, but our spirit and our confidence was definitely not crushed. We had a couple days to reflect on it and now we've moved on.''
Earlier in the week, Mangini was asked if Clemens needs to show him more as the season winds down.
``The whole group needs to play better than we did offensively in Dallas,'' Mangini said. ``To evaluate any position, you have to be working in all the different areas to give it an honest assessment.''
Clemens has also had the misfortune of playing against three of the toughest defenses in the league in Washington, Pittsburgh and Dallas. His first start in September came against Baltimore.
``Those four defensive teams have made a lot of quarterbacks' days difficult, more seasoned guys than Kellen,'' Mangini said.
Miami's defense is ranked 16th overall, but is third against the pass. That, coupled with the fact the Dolphins have lost six games by three points - including 31-28 at New York in Week 3 - has the Jets wary.
``They're still a very good team that we are regarding with a lot of respect,'' Clemens said. ``And we're preparing like this is the biggest game of the week.''
From here on out, they all are for Clemens.
 

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