Jets owner Johnson happy with QBs Pennington, Clemens
"I do like our current quarterbacks, Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens, from almost any aspect," Johnson said Saturday. "When you see these two gentleman, I'm so happy to have them on the team. I think they're capable of taking us where we have to go."
Some fans disagree, saying the Jets would've been better off making a big push for Favre. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the NFL Network on Saturday that the contentious situation between Favre and the Packers could be resolved by Monday after weeks of speculation about the three-time MVP's future.
We're committed to building a championship team. We are. I mean, I don't go to any game that I don't feel I'm going to win. Never.
-- Jets owner Woody Johnson
"I like everything about them," Johnson said. "Pennington is very smart, accurate. When he's healthy, he doesn't throw picks and he's won a lot of games. Kellen's a little different stylistically, but he's also good."
As far as his rooting interests in Saturday's green-white scrimmage -- Pennington's green team or Clemens' white team -- Johnson took the high road.
"I've got money on both sides," Johnson said with a chuckle.
While Johnson declined to say whether he thought the Jets should pursue Favre, he said general manager Mike Tannenbaum was empowered to make all personnel decisions.
"I don't know if we have any involvement [with Favre]," Johnson said. "I talk to Mike four or five times a day. ... It's his decision. It has to be his decision to run the personnel department. I can't start picking out, I want this and I want that."
Johnson broke bread with the media at Chrebet's restaurant, owned by former Jets star Wayne Chrebet, for an informal luncheon in which he addressed the quarterbacks, his hopes for the team, the pending move to New Jersey and personal seating licenses at the new Meadowlands stadium.
"We're committed to building a championship team. We are," he said. "I mean, I don't go to any game that I don't feel I'm going to win. Never. I may be overly optimistic. Even last year, I thought we were going to win."
Instead, the Jets went from a playoff team in 2006 to a dismal 4-12 season. As a result, the bank was broken open and New York doled out around $140 million to bring established veterans such as Alan Faneca, Kris Jenkins, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson and Calvin Pace into the fold.
When I bought the team, I said I wanted to put a competitive team on the field and I wanted to move back to New York. So, we spent the first six years trying to do that. It was a fabulous effort. We left no stone unturned.
With the big paychecks come even greater expectations, although Johnson said he has not set any mandates on Mangini's job security.
"I think, based on what we look like on paper, I'm very optimistic," he said. "I'm very confident that Eric and Mike and the staffs that they've put together, that they're building a team both now and continuing to down the road."
The Jets will hit the road after training camp when they leave their home at Hofstra University for a lush, state-of-the-art facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Sept. 2 -- five days before the season opener at Miami.
Johnson is sensitive to the Long Island-based fans who have made training camp a part of their summer plans since 1968. He announced Saturday that the team will play its green-white scrimmage at Hofstra every year to maintain some ties to the area.
"We feel very strongly that our DNA and where we came from is Long Island," Johnson said.
Johnson said the team will remain named the New York Jets despite the move to New Jersey and said the new facility "gives us an amazing competitive advantage compared to where we are right now." He added that the franchise tried desperately to find a new facility and stadium in New York, including the failed West Side Project.
"When I bought the team, I said I wanted to put a competitive team on the field and I wanted to move back to New York," he said. "So, we spent the first six years trying to do that. It was a fabulous effort. We left no stone unturned."
Instead, the Jets and Giants partnered on a new $1.3 billion stadium that will replace the current Giants Stadium. Johnson said the team will also follow in the Giants' footsteps in charging fans for the right to buy tickets, or personal seat licenses. The Jets are awaiting the results of questionnaires sent out to season-ticket holders before formulating their plan for the hotly debated PSLs.
"We don't want to alienate anybody," Johnson said. "I didn't get into this business to alienate anybody. We're going to try to be as receptive to any comments the fans made in this particular department. I feel pretty good about coming out with something that is reflective of those values."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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