Clemens already impressing Jets


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) – It’s been two days through a three-day rookie minicamp, but Kellen Clemens has already started to impress the New York Jets.

The rookie quarterback out of Oregon, who was selected in the second round by the Jets in last month’s draft, drew praise from coach Eric Mangini after Saturday’s morning session.

“What I liked out of Kellen this weekend is his presence and his ability to run the operation,” Mangini said. “That’s been really positive.”

Clemens said he feels more comfortable with each practice.

“Right now, the main thing is improvement and we got that today from position to unit to team,” Clemens said. “We all improved and things are going well. Things are coming more and more clear and I think the command part just comes with the position.”

Clemens was taken to help the Jets shore up a shaky quarterback situation, with Chad Pennington coming off his second operation on his right rotator cuff. Though the Jets traded for Patrick Ramsey, he only has one year left on his contract, effectively making this season a try out.

Though he went in the second round, Clemens came to the Jets with high praise from many. For example, former NFL quarterback and current television analyst Ron Jaworski said he had Clemens rated higher than USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Texas’ Vince Young and Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler.

Obviously, the Jets’ brass liked him a lot. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer flew out to Oregon to work him out in the classroom and on the field before the draft.

As the draft unfolded, the Jets made no effort to draft Leinart or Cutler and patiently waited for Clemens.

“I guess he liked me enough,” Clemens joked of Schottenheimer. “What Coach Schottenheimer is looking for from his quarterbacks is intelligence, completed passes and moving of the offense.”

Clemens has heard the critics of his game, some of whom say he lacks accuracy with the deep passes.

“I’ve just tried to work on every aspect of my game, tried to work as much as I could just to improve,” he said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s been said, but at this point I’m only concerned with the criticisms this coaching staff has for me here to get better.”

AP-ES-05-13-06 1716EDT