Jets quarterback quandary has easy answer

Come on Jets fans, please tell me that you're smarter than much of what I have been reading on those internet message boards lately?

Picking a quarterback is a sometimes challenging proposition, especially for a rookie head coach whose starter is coming back from double rotator cuff surgery.

But really now folks, this should be an easy one the way that I see it.

There are several factors to consider when you play the game of who should be the Jets starting quarterback.

First let us understand the fact that the Jets offensive line is still a very raw, work-in -progress.

Two rookies in D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold, should tell you that with their on-the-job, baptism-by-fire - in addition to three other guys on the Jets OL being good players at best - that the Jets quarterback better have some wheels to get out of trouble this year...or else.

Are ya with me here?

Let us also understand that despite the addition of what Keven Barlow may bring in the hopes of upgrading the running game, the Jets ground attack is an unproven commodity at this juncture.

Feeling my drift?

How about the Jets wide receivers?

Then again, who are the Jets wide receivers?

Wide receivers that can get open I mean.

Wide receivers that can gain separation, receivers who pose a deep threat that allows the Jets to stretch a defense?

Sounds to me as though with a collection of wide outs led by a very good player in Laverneus Coles, but a significant drop off after him, that the Jets receivers could be in need of a quarterback with the ability to help buy them some time as they attempt to get open.


I love Chad Pennington, okay?

In fact I saw Chad play at Marshall many times while I was working in Huntington, West Virginia, earlier in my broadcasting career.

Nobody was more thrilled to see Chad get drafted by the Jets in the first round.

But Pennington, as presently constituted, with the composition of this Jets team, is not the quarterback to lead this team right now.

That sucks to admit, but it's the kelly green truth.

Pennington's arm strength (never very good to begin with) is a huge question mark to hold up for an entire year.

In addition, with this offensive line, and with Pennington's very limited mobility, I don't believe it is a question of if Chad will get hurt again, instead, unfortunately, I believe it is right to assume when, he gets injured once again.

Now on to Patrick Ramsey.

Ramsey has done nothing this pre-season to justify a roster space as far as I am concerned.

Ramsey plays the part of a gun-shy quarterback with little instinctive feel for the position.

I wasn't a Ramsey fan when he played in Washington, and I'm not a fan of his now.

Will Mike Tannenbaum, by the way, please explain the contract extension he gave to Ramsey after being acquired by the Jets? Did this make sense to anyone aside the Jets GM?

Which brings me to rookie quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Jets apparent hope for the future.

Clemens, with what I have seen of him so far in the pre-season, allows one to think that just maybe, he could indeed pilot the Jets offense for years to come...when he's ready for that role.

Right now throwing Clemens into the fire might retard his development and overload his senses as he learns not only the Jets offense, but in addition, the nuances and the environment of NFL football.

Which leads me to the player that in my mind, is the quintessential quarterback for this Jets team as they are currently constructed.

His name, is Brooks Bollinger.

Bear in mind now, I am not talking about Bollinger being the quarterback that will someday lead the Jets to their next Super Bowl victory. However, what I do suggest confidently to you, is that Bollinger is the quarterback best-suited to run this offense with all of the apparent limitations it will have during this 2006 season.

In fact, this is a no-brainer as far as I see it.

Last year Bollinger did some good things, while trying to run an offense with one eye on the opponents defense, and the other eye on former head coach Herman Edwards, who did everything he could to submarine this guy's value in the eyes of anyone watching.

Edwards treatment of Bollinger last year was revolting at worst, and disingenuous at best.

Then again, with Hermy's good friend Vinny Testaverde on the sidelines, and with Herm always playing the role of politician/friend, with the players, and with the majority of the New York media, it was easy to see how Bollinger became lost in the shuffle last season by the guy that is thankfully now in Kansas City.

I loved it whenever Herm would cite Bollinger's alleged height disadvantage, with the coach noting on a few occasions that Bollinger would have passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Firstly folks, someone please explain to me how Drew Brees has been so successful being a quarterback that is almost exactly the same height that Bollinger is?

Secondly, you may be thinking that a short quarterback led the league a season ago in having passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.

No, it was 6-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms.

The Jets offense this pre-season has had trouble getting into the end zone no matter who is calling the plays under center.

However, if you're going to objectively state which quarterback has moved the offense most consistently this pre-season, the answer has to be Bollinger.

Bollinger has great mobility, terrific escapability, and the Jets are going to need that from this position this season in almost every game they play.

Bollinger is a tenacious leader, a player who in my opinion, will quickly gain the confidence of those players around him if given the chance to lead consistently and with the confidence of the coaching staff.

His arm, while not by any means a rocket, is more than good enough, certainly better than Pennington's at this point.

Bollinger has an above average arm strength, and yes, he can make the long throws …not that any Jets receiver can consistently get open on a deep route, mind you.

I love Bollinger's ability (and I cannot stress this enough) to get good movement in the pocket, evade oncoming rushing lineman, step up to make a throw, and show the toughness that any successful quarterback needs, in order to make the most difficult throws.

The Jets offense also becomes a lot more unpredictable with fleet-footed Bollinger at the controls.

This guy is not a wall flower by any means folks.

He's a tough and determined player, who should be the starting quarterback for the Jets when they open the season in a few weeks in Tennessee.

However, I don't think this will happen.

I believe that Eric Mangini is going to go with Pennington - and this is a mistake.

I'll conclude by stating that if the Jets trim their roster and cut Bollinger, opting instead to keep Ramsey, then it will tell me that the culture at Hofstra will not have changed as much as I was led to believe it has.

A suspect offensive line?

A more than questionable running game?

A shallow receiving cast?

My quarterback?

Brooks Bollinger.

Too easy.

(Dino Costa is a talk radio host on the statewide Radio Colorado Network in Denver. He also hosts Raw Sports With Dino Costa on FSN Rocky Mountain.)

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