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Spotlight on Clemens, Ratliff ... and Clowney


Veteran Minicamp 4/16-4/18/09

And the Jets' next QB derby is rolling.

Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff took the snaps at the first practices of the voluntary veterans minicamp today. And without getting into too much of a snapshot mentality of the competition, KC appeared to have a good day.

Both QBs (Erik Ainge is absent due to a personal matter) had their big-play moments and both missed some open receivers. But Clemens, who took the first snaps in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, looked crisp on a number of passes.

Ratliff's longer balls wobbled a little more in the moderate winds. And his last throw of the final scrimmage period in the morning was underthrown and intercepted by free agent CB Tyron Brackenridge.

"The first day, it was fun out there," Ratty said. "I maybe could have done a little better, but it was fun out there. It was great to be able to get it going against the guys again and I am excited for the next practice and the rest of minicamp.

I can't get into a blow-by-blow description or a snapshot mentality — there'll be enough of that from the beats from now through September. I will say it was a good day for KC. But Clemens doesn't envision this battle ending before, say, next weekend's draft.

"It's understandable that Coach Ryan is evaluating what he's got on the team because he hasn't been here," Clemens said, "and that's the quarterback position, that's every position because it's his first draft coming up. But this thing, I would be highly surprised if we came out here in another couple hours and he said, 'OK, I've got my starter.' This is a marathon. It's not going to be a one-, two- or five-practice sprint."

Clowney's Speedy Start

One of the stars of the morning session (the afternoon practice seemed a little more low-key) was David Clowney. No less than Rex Ryan said so.

"He was impressive," the head coach said. "Everyone knows the great speed he has. And I like his confidence. He seems to be a very confident young man who enjoys playing the game. It doesn't matter if Darrelle or Lito's out there — he loves competing. I'm excited about him."

And Clowney is excited about Ryan telling his players after the morning practice that the one thing they needed to do for the p.m. practice was to "have some more fun."

"It felt good today, real good. My legs are good and my shoulder's good," said the irrepressible wideout, swinging his right shoulder, injured last preseason, with abandon. "In order for me to have more fun, I'm catching the ball. I'm going to have more fun than anybody can imagine. I get loud and I kind of get the defense mad at me. But I love competing with the corners and the other receivers."

Clowney caught one deep ball in the early session but did some impressive work on his slant routes. No surprise, said the coach.

"He's got explosive speed," Ryan said, getting into the minds of those who might be covering him, "so the first thing you worry about is 'I gotta make sure I'm high, I'm deep enough.' I think Clowney's that kind of guy" to make DBs think like that.

Add Five to the Fun

The Jets brought in five street free agents for tryouts at this minicamp: K Aaron Barret (New Mexico), TE Chris Conklin (Wingate), G Robert Felton (Arkansas), T Mike Kracalik (San Diego State) and G Eric Young (Tennessee).

Conklin presented a fairly big target (6'3", 249) to Clemens and Ratliff and made a couple of noteworthy catches down the field in the morning.

Flight Crew Prep Class Info

Repeating for all prospective candidates seeking to join the 2009 New York Jets Flight Crew, here are details on the Flight Crew prep class that we announced Wednesday.

This class will be held at Lifetime Fitness, located at 14 Fernwood Road in Florham Park, N.J., on Tuesday, April 21, from 7-9 p.m. The class will be taught by Flight Crew director Denise Garvey and other Flight Crew members. The fee for the class is $25 and a check or money order may be made payable to New York Jets LLC and sent to One Jets Drive, Florham Park, NJ 07932, Att: Prep Class Application.

These prep classes are voluntary sessions designed to help applicants feel more confident at Flight Crew auditions and allow potential candidates to learn the different dance styles incorporated into Flight Crew performances.

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