by Joe Grinwis
Were the Patriots playing it safe by leaving Tom Brady as the starter when Drew Bledsoe, a proven veteran, was able to come back in 2001 after being knocked out Week 2 by the Jets? No, they were not.
So what does that have to do with anything you ask? For the New York Jets, the organization that wants to model itself after the Patriots, their chance to make a gutsy move and take a chance is now. No more mediocre play from the Quarterback position. No more off-seasons spent pondering if the Quarterbacks right shoulder will still be attached to his body by January.
Chad Pennington is a great person and a great leader. That means nothing when it comes to firing touchdown passes into the hands of Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery or any other Jets receiver. I love Chad as a person and I believe all Jets fans do. But, as a Quarterback, he is nothing more than mediocre.
You will hear countless amounts of Jets fans listing off the stats of his completion percentage, his interception to touchdown ratio in the red zone and how he has taken this team to the playoffs in the three seasons in which he started double digit games. Good for Chad, yes, good for him. But, where are the rings to show for it? When has he even come close to leading this team past the 2nd round of the playoffs?
In 2002 the Raiders were the first of many teams to show Pennington’s weaknesses and in 2004, the defense and special teams were the reason that Doug Brien had a chance and capitalized on screwing the Jets over twice in the final 2 minutes of regulation. Santana Moss returned a punt for a touchdown and Reggie Tongue returned an interception for a touchdown. Chad Pennington dinked and dunked his way to a horrific 3 points.
In 2006, Chad Pennington at the age of 30, in his 7th season in the NFL, 5th as the starter, finally completed an entire season without missing a game. I’m sorry, but it sad that we had to wait that long for Chad to remain healthy for an entire season. How can you have your leader missing games every season? If he were producing at a Super Bowl calibear level, it might be okay, but he is not.
Yes his completion percentage is exceptional but lets see how far down that list he is in 3-5 years shall we?
Chad Pennington is a great Quarterback when you’re facing a mediocre team or worse. When you put him up against Tom Brady and the Patriots, he drowns. He drowns against most good teams but the team the Jets are trying to defeat is the team he has struggled against the most. If you want to beat New England, your Quarterback, the supposed leader of each and every NFL teams offense, cannot be mediocre.
I am not here to say that Kellen Clemens is the next Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, John Elway or Johnny Unitas, I am not. I am here to say that Kellen Clemens may very well be an upgrade over Chad Pennington and could be the man to get us over the Patriot hump.
If not, I’m fine with that, and you should be too, knowing that Jets front office did everything it could by sending an injury prone, weak armed mediocre Quarterback somewhere else and took a chance on a young, strong armed, smart man. Is Kellen Clemens the savior? Who knows. For all we know that man might not be on roster right now but how will we ever find out if we contiue to have Chad Pennington as the starting Quarterback?
I’m tired of going 9-7 and 10-6 and winning maybe one playoff game a season and calling it a success. I’m sorry, but neither I, nor do the players consider that success. The success is winning a championship. Chad Pennington cannot lead a team to an NFL Championship unless he has the 1985 Chicago Bears defense backing him up and even then, who knows with his lack of point production in the playoffs and against good teams.
Mediocre = Chad Pennington. Anybody else = Taking a chance, and one day we will find greatness and be crowned champs.
I love you Chad, but its time we move on. Lets do it now, while Kellen is still young, because he may be the guy.