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News » New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-10


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-10


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-10
Now that the Jay Cutler saga is over, the Jets can move on with the quarterbacks currently on their roster.


That is, until the draft or the next rumored trade or signing.

The competition for the starting job among the present figures to heat up April 16, which is the start of the Jets' voluntary minicamp. It will last three days and be the first on-field experience for the Jets under the new regime of coach Rex Ryan.

"I'm in a good place right now," said Kellen Clemens, who went 3-5 as a starting quarterback for the Jets during their 4-12 season of 2007. "I'm ready for the minicamp. ... My work has been the same (as last spring) but I think my work has been smarter this year.

"We'll be in a good spot to put on a good showing for minicamp," Clemens added, "but we'll just hopefully continue to progress through OTAs and into training camp."

Clemens and the other quarterbacks, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge, will be going against a defense that will be much different from the one they saw in practice last season. While it still is a 3-4, Ryan features more of an attacking defense than did former coach Eric Mangini, who favored more of a read-and-react approach.

"I'm really excited to see the new defense, to see what they have to bring," Clemens said, "because I'm sure there will be some challenges and some different looks coming from them for sure. ... I'm just excited to kind of take stock of where we are and see where we need to go."

"I'm excited, very excited," Ratliff said. "It's just going to be fun to get back on the field with the guys, just get back to football."

Clemens appeared to be trailing former Jet Chad Pennington in the battle for the position last August before the Jets traded for Brett Favre. He expects to win that competition in 2009.

"It's my full expectation to be under center [on] opening day," Clemens said. "That just comes from another year in the system [and] another year of learning (about) myself and the things that I need to improve on. It's a better approach this year, I think, just having seen everything else that goes on and what it takes to win."

Much attention figures to be trained on the Jets' backfield during voluntary mini-camp. Besides the quarterback competition, there is an interesting situation developing at running back.

Thomas Jones has been a no-show for the first three weeks of the Jets' offseason conditioning program and sources indicate the veteran is unhappy with the $900,000 he's scheduled to make this season.

However, he's in the midst of a four-year, $20 million deal that paid him $13.1 million over the last two seasons, including a $10 million signing bonus and other guarantees.

It's believed the Jets don't want to give Jones another payday because it would set a bad precedent for other players on the team who are in the middle of multi-year contracts and have at least two years remaining on those deals. If Jones doesn't show up for voluntary mini-camp, he would further draw a line in the sand with Jets' management.

Jones' backup is Leon Washington, whose representatives are currently trying to negotiate a contract extension with the team. But the Jets seem to believe that the dynamic but diminutive back might not be able to take the physical pounding of being a featured back, so they likely wouldn't want him getting 20 or more carries per game.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

Artrell Hawkins Name: Artrell Hawkins
#25
Position: S
Age: 31
Experience: 10 years
College: Cincinnati
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