Plenty of blame to go around

When Eric Mangini opted to insert Kellen Clemens into the starting lineup, the Jets were 1-7, and from a playoff standpoint, the season was already gone.

As the coach intimated after the Dallas game, the teams problems have much deeper roots than a single position. And if anything has been proved over the past month, it's that this is very much the case. But that's not to say the new man behind center doesn't deserve some of the blame.

"We have made a lot of changes at a lot of different point," Mangini said when asked if he agreed that the insertion of Clemens has not improved the offense. "I don't think that at any point the change was an indictment of any one person. You are always trying to find the best combination of people. That is something we will continue to do."

Whether the coaching staff wants to admit it or not, one of the chief functions of starting Clemens was to give the second-year quarterback an extended opportunity to prove whether or not he is in the teams quarterback of the future.

Given this fact, it would make very little sense for the Jets to re-insert Chad Pennington into the starting lineup. A decision that Mangini said never crossed his mind on Thursday evening.

The Jets have been given a lot of credit for staying close during most of their losses. The thinking is that they are not as bad as their record says they are. There could be some truth to this, but that was certainly not the case against the Cowboys.

The Jets did not stay close with the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, the Jets did little to demonstrate that they even belonged on the same field as their opponents.

The Jets were dominated in every facet of the game, but it was the offense that looked particularly inept.

Playing without his number one receiver, and facing constant pressure, Clemens didn't get much help from his teammates. But for his part, he didn't look all that sharp either.

His final stat line read 12 of 27 for 142 with no touchdowns and a lone interception. But what was more disturbing than the paltry numbers were the mental miscues. Clemens appeared confused by the Cowboys coverage's all game long, and did little to show that he is grasping the mental side of the position.

Of course, it would be unfair to write off the future of Clemens after less than a handful of games, but it would be unrealistic to claim that, thus far, he has been anything but unimpressive. If he continues to struggle over the course of the next five games, it will present the team with a very interesting scenario.

Undoubtedly the team will have a high draft pick in April's draft. Should Clemens fail to convince the Jets that he is their quarterback of the future, would the front-office consider putting a premature end to the Kellen Clemens era of Jets football by selecting a highly-touted quarterback with their first round pick?

It is unlikely scenario considering the enormous drafting blunder they would be admitting to. But it might be one worth considering, given the enormous talent of Boston College's Matt Ryan.

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