But if he is replaced at any time the rest of the way because of injury or ineffectiveness, it very well could be rookie Kellen Clemens who gets the call.
Against Buffalo, not only did Clemens get four snaps on the Jets' final series in a mop-up role, he also was the No. 2 quarterback for the first time this season. Patrick Ramsey was listed as the third quarterback.
"Kellen had strung together a number of good weeks," coach Eric Mangini said. "We felt he should be bumped up to No. 2. It was just that time where he had earned it."
"They told me Saturday night, right after the offense-defense meetings," said Clemens, a second-round choice. "And I was excited. I slept pretty good that night. I was excited to have the opportunity.
"Apparently I'm making some progress, in the coaches' eyes," Clemens added. "I came here to hopefully compete and help the team out any way I can. Being No. 2 and moving up the chart a little bit, I'm excited about moving in the right direction."
Clemens is 0-for-2 in pass attempts in two mop-up stints this season, and has been sacked four times in 11 snaps. Ramsey has attempted one pass, a long incompletion against Houston after Pennington came out of the game briefly because he had the wind knocked out of him. Pennington returned after Ramsey's one snap.
"I'm not sure whether it's permanent or not," Ramsey said. "What I'm going to do is come out here, work on the game plan and be ready whenever the time comes and do whatever I can to help the team. Obviously, I want the opportunity to play again."
It's becoming apparent that he probably won't get that opportunity here. Most likely, Pennington will be competing against Clemens and perhaps a different veteran quarterback in 2007 for the starting role. Ramsey doesn't appear to be in the Jets' plans.
"I had a hunch that things were changing," Clemens said. "The last couple of weeks I definitely got more reps with our offense in practice."
With the Jets preparing to visit Minnesota, Mangini said of the No. 2 job, "It'll be open again this week and whoever plays better will be the two."