Pennington's squad beats Clemens' team in Jets' scrimmage
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Score this round of the Jets' quarterback competition in favor of Chad Pennington -- barely.
Locked in a tight contest with Kellen Clemens for the starting job, Pennington left Hofstra's Shuart Stadium a winner in the team's green-white scrimmage Saturday. He still wasn't quite ready yet to declare victory in the competition.
"No, that's up to Coach," Pennington said with a smile. "I'm pleased with how our whole team did. We came out here and competed really well."
Pennington's green team beat Clemens' white squad 10-7. Each threw a touchdown pass and had no turnovers in the annual event that is essentially a practice run in gamelike conditions.
"It's always nice when you win, so that's good," Pennington said.
Pennington finished the scrimmage 8-of-14 for 115 yards, including a 27-yard scoring pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Clemens was 8-of-22 for 137 yards, including a pretty, 55-yard TD pass to first-rounder Dustin Keller, and could've had better numbers if not for a few drops by receivers.
"We lost, which always puts a shadow on anything," said Clemens, who has looked better in camp after a shaky start. "All in all, there were some good points. The touchdown to Keller was nice. It showcased his abilities a little bit."
Both quarterbacks played most of the scrimmage and had some good moments in which they effectively ran their offenses despite windy and rainy conditions that forced the teams off the field and the fans to evacuate the stands for 26 minutes in the first half.
"It's tough to give any real assessment," coach Eric Mangini said of the quarterbacks. "As I'm watching this game, part of it is watching those guys, but part of it is watching all the other new guys. Part of it is trying to look at the scheme and how those guys are executing the scheme. There's a lot of new faces to look at. That's really going to come more from the tape than this first look."
Mangini was so pleased with the efforts of both squads, he lifted the team's curfew for Saturday night as a reward.
"I just thought the group, as a whole, did what I was looking for them to do in terms of tempo and effort," he said.
Clemens' team was trailing 10-0 early in the fourth quarter when he saw Keller one-on-one with safety Abram Elam. The speedy tight end caught Clemens' pass in stride and scored, a sight Jets fans are hoping the 30th overall pick provides often this season.
"Kellen put the ball right where it needed to be, so there was no thinking or looking back after that," Keller said. "Just taking off straight to the end zone."
Keller limped off the field late in the scrimmage with an injured left ankle after going for pass thrown into double coverage. The ankle was wrapped heavily while he signed autographs for the fans afterward.
"I'm fine, but I'm not at liberty to discuss injuries," Keller said, citing the team's injury policy.
The Jets' top draft pick, linebacker Vernon Gholston, also made his presence felt when he was credited with a sack early in the scrimmage.
"Obviously, the biggest reason they brought me here was to upgrade the pass rush, so that is one of the things I have to get used to," said the No. 6 overall draft pick, who set Ohio State's single-season sack record. Wide receiver Laveranues Coles (thigh), tight end Chris Baker (back), linebacker David Harris (leg) and running back Jesse Chatman (unspecified) didn't participate while nursing injuries.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press