Jets OC: QB Clemens has 'head start'

Updated: May 2, 2009, 7:34 PM ET
Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez zipped passes all over the field with precision Saturday, looking very much like the franchise quarterback the New York Jets expect him to be.

That doesn't necessarily mean the starting job is Sanchez's to lose -- yet.

Both coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have praised Sanchez's work ethic and poise during rookie minicamp.

But the two have also been quick to point out that holdover Kellen Clemens has performed well in offseason workouts.

I'm looking forward to watching these guys compete.

-- Offensive coordinator
Brian Schottenheimer,
on Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez

"He has the head start and he is clearly ahead in terms of the system," Schottenheimer said of Clemens. "Not that Mark is doing badly at all, he is doing well. But things that come natural to Kellen, Sanchez has to think about."

Clemens, entering his fourth season, will compete with Sanchez for the starting job and appears to have his work cut out for him. The Jets traded up to get the fifth overall pick and draft Sanchez, whom they targeted early in the scouting process.

"I'm looking forward to watching these guys compete," Schottenheimer said.

Sanchez has been solid in all four rookie camp practices, particularly in Saturday afternoon's session when he completed his first six throws in 7-on-7 drills.

"Going through the cadence everyday and saying the calls over and over again helps," Sanchez said. "It's going to be that repetition that really makes me feel comfortable."

After calling an impromptu meeting of the offensive rookies Thursday night, Sanchez met with the offensive line Friday night.

"We had extra time and the bus wasn't leaving yet," Sanchez said, "so we just all got together instead of sitting around staring at each other and watched a little film."

Sanchez has impressed Ryan with that kind of leadership, as well as his ability to retain increased amounts of the playbook.

"I think so far, so good," Ryan said. "Once we put in two straight weeks of it, day-in, day-out, we'll see if it's overwhelming to him, but right now clearly it's not."

Schottenheimer has liked Sanchez's accuracy, but is also surprised by his feet.

"He has very, very good footwork," Schottenheimer said. "He has quick feet. ... He's ahead of the game with most college quarterbacks that I have been around in terms of footwork. That clearly gives him an advantage in terms of accuracy."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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