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Chad, Kellen Advance the QB Competition


2008 Green and White Practice Photos

Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington each threw a touchdown pass and played turnover-free football today as Penny's Green team captured a 10-7 victory in the Jets' Green & White Practice at Hofstra's James H. Shuart Stadium.

In a first half that featured a fan evacuation late in the first quarter and a shortened second quarter, the weather couldn't prevent a 27-yard Chad Pennington strike of his own to WR Jerricho Cotchery.

Working with the first-team offense against the first D, J-Co got loose from CB Justin Miller on a go route and was on the receiving end of a nice ball in the left corner of the end zone.

"I felt Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer did a great job of anticipating," Pennington said. "We started moving the ball a little bit and the defense decided to bring full pressure on us, so it was a one-on-one situation with Jerricho and he made a great catch. I just tried to put it out there and let him go get it."

The Jets, in effect, have two No. 1 receivers, but Penny did not have the services of Laveranues Coles (LC is day-to-day with a thigh injury). Cotchery, who led the Jets last season in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,130), caught four balls for 71 yards including a 32-yarder from Pennington in the fourth.

"I've noticed more zip," said Cotchery of Pennington's passes and the mechanics he worked on this off-season. "We talked about it earlier in the off-season. Since I've been here he's always thrown the ball well. A little tweak here and there couldn't hurt him. But just warming up, I felt the difference."

With the White trailing, 10-0, early in the fourth, Clemens got his troops back in the game simulation. He found a favorable matchup with rookie TE Dustin Keller getting a step on S Abram Elam. KC delivered a rope, Keller caught it in stride and easily finished the last 30 yards of a score covering 55 yards.

"It's just a credit to how talented he is," Clemens said. "He went one-on-one with a safety. For us, that's a pretty good matchup when you've got Dustin Keller running down the middle of the field. I just threw that to an area and let him go get it and he did a great job. I'm sure that they're saying it was controversial on the tackle, but we'll take it."

Brett Ratliff (Green) and Erik Ainge (White) also received reps during the practice, but the majority of snaps were handled by Pennington and Clemens. Pennington finished the day 8-of-14 for 115 yards while Clemens went 8-of-22 for 137 yards.

"I would say that I'm progressing towards where I want to be," said Clemens, who lined up with the second-team offense. "The path to get there has many different signs along the way. It's still a work in progress, but I'm definitely headed in the direction."

You shouldn't dwell on stat totals because Clemens was hampered by a couple of critical drops. He almost had the White knocking at the door for a second score but WR Wallace Wright, bothered by S Nate Lyles, couldn't come up with a tight spiral.

Later, on White's final possession, David Clowney had one slip through his fingertips. In the final seconds, Clemens was forced to run for his life and make required heaves of desperation.

"I thought he made some nice throws but we couldn't complete them — we couldn't catch them," Mangini said.

The quarterback challenge will resume Monday when the Jets return for a two-a-day session at Weeb Ewbank Hall. Clemens, who was shaky at the beginning of camp, is beginning to feel more comfortable.

"I'm sliding into a pretty good rhythm right now," Clemens said. "Things are coming along. You continue to progress with each practice."

Pennington, who's as focused as ever, remains a perfectionist who's searching for ways to improve.

"Whoever is declared the starter has to get better and keep competing — not only with the other guys around him but himself," he said. "I have to compete with myself."

At some point early next week, Mangini will name a starter for the Jets' preseason opener vs. the Browns. Saturday was just a preview for Thursday night when the exhibition season begins in Cleveland.

"We were presented some game-type situations to where we had to react in a game-like atmosphere," Pennington said. "That's the best thing about today."

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