The Jaguars' QB play thus far has been underwhelming to say the least. Garrard is replicating his yearly struggles in training camp, which always makes us fret. Luke McCown, after narrowly losing a battle to start for the Buccaneers, was pursued and acquired by Gene Smith and immediately declared the #2 QB. McCown was even thought by some (myself included) to have the potential to push Garrard this camp, but he hasn't demonstrated that ability yet.
Enter Kellen Clemens. The 49th overall selection of the 2006 NFL Draft, Clemens has the ability to succeed. But, has his inability to entrench himself as the starter have more to do with unceasing tumult in NY over his tenure, or does it have to do with a lack of ability?
We'll take a look at the situation after the jump.
When Clemens came in as a rookie, Chad Pennington was in front of him. When Pennington went down the following year, the Jets were already in turmoil, and Clemens floundered to say the least. He composed a paltry 52% completion percentage along with 10 interceptions and only 5 TD's. He obviously couldn't carry that atrocious team.
In the 2008 offseason, his coach, Mangini, went out to recruit Brett Favre in a desperate attempt to save his job... Fail. As a result, Clemens hit the sideline again and there was no competition for the starting position. Clemens didn't complain at all, he was classy throughout the scenario.
The following year, Sanchez came to town and was chosen with the number 5 overall pick. The job was his to lose, and he played competently enough to hold the position. Clemens rode the pine again. Now, he's preparing to enter his 5th NFL season, and the Jets just signed longtime Jaguar Mark Brunell. Rex Ryan has declared that Brunell is absolutely the back-up, indicating that Clemens is likely on his way out the door prior to the season's beginning.
I certainly don't think Clemens is going to come in and play well enough to take the starting job from Dave, but with the poor quarterback play thus far, it wouldn't be a stretch to see the Jaguars' try to look elsewhere to provide competition. Kellen's agent was granted permission to seek a trade prior to the draft, but the asking price of the Jets was too steep for the potential suitors, according to the agent.
I will tell you this though, Kellen is widely regarded as a high character individual and a stand-up guy who puts his team first. He would make a great locker-room addition and his the tools to succeed. Was he a victim of circumstance, or did he miss his chance back in 2007? You have to believe he's improved since that debacle of a half-season he played.
The Jets have the ability to sit on Clemens' rights and release him just before the regular season, far too little time to learn a new playbook and compete. This would significantly reduce his value and decrease the chances of the Jaguars biting on the player when he's released.
The Jaguars' would be left with the dilemma of deciding who to go with as their back-up, Luke McCown, or Clemens, and they'd have to decide quick. The team won't want to enter the season with 3 roster spots tied up at the quarterback position, and I likely expect that this alone may cause Gene to shy away from the deal. However, any competition at the position has to be seen as a positive if this inconsistent play continues into the preseason.
We'll know soon enough.
- Collin Streetman