The moment Brett Favre left, Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff knew they were in a good spot. As the leading in-house candidates, new coach Rex Ryan has continuously voiced support for the pair during interviews.
So when the Jay Cutler rumors started, it was deja vu all over again for Clemens.
“It’s an interesting thing preparing to try to be a major contributor to a football team and there’s always all the rumors that are floating around,” Clemens said. “And at times they can be distracting, I’m not going to lie I heard about them. And it wasn’t something like, ‘Oh good, Jay’d be here, that’d be great. We can hang out!’ I’m trying to focus on the things that are actually under my control.”
Check out the audio of the quote below. Erik Boland of Newsday tries to delicately ask the question and Clemens starts laughing before he can even get it out.
The injection of Denver’s quarterback into the Jets’ quarterback discussion is awfully reminiscent of last season, when Clemens and Chad Pennington were vying for the starting role before Brett Favre arrived. The two addressed Favre rumors, without thinking they would actually come true.
Ryan said earlier this week he doesn’t think the Jets need to go for a veteran quarterback given the players they already have.
“Everyone seems to think we have major issues there,” Ryan said. “I don’t think the situation is what people think it is. I think we’re going to be just fine.”
All three quarterbacks, including the dark horse candidate in Erik Ainge, spoke yesterday. Ratliff, acquired as an undrafted free agent in 2007, has been coming in since January, and appears to have added some muscle.
“Trying to, trying to gain a little weight,” said Ratliff, in the above photo.
Last season, Ratliff impressed a lot of Jets watchers with his performance during the preseason, but his regular season stats read zeros all the way across the line.
Drafted in the second round in 2006, Clemens won the starting job in 2007 and played 10 games to throw five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Both players said they learned from the quarterbacks they have played under. Clemens said he has spoken to both Favre and Pennington this year, and Ratliff said Favre’s affect on the Jets will linger.
“One of the biggest things I learned about him is that the game is meant to be fun,” Ratliff said. “He always had a good time its crazy to see how much one guy could affect a team.”
But clearly, the arrival of Favre didn’t mean the end of Pennington’s season.
“Him working hard and being the guy he is he, (he) went down to Miami and won 11 games and went to the playoffs,” Ratliff said. “His hard work paid off. It wasn’t necessarily with the Jets it was with the Dolphins. He went down there and he was lighting it up down there.”
Here’s audio of that.
And one last thing, the story I broke yesterday about the Jets looking to hold training camp upstate was in the paper today, and out sister paper The Poughkeepsie Journal reminded me that Marist has a new football facility which can seat 5,000 people.
“Coach Ryan is looking to find a more isolated environment for training camp to promote team building and we are researching potential locations,” Jets spokesperson Bruce Speight said in a statement. “However, any plans will also include community events at our Atlantic Health Jets Training Center and in Long Island prior to the start of the regular season.”
And check out the new poll on the left side of the screen, which asks where the Jets should hold training camp.