Jets’ Clemens was upset he got no shot as No. 2 QB

Kellen Clemens entered training camp thinking he had a shot at
being the New York Jets’ backup quarterback.

It turned out Mark Brunell won the spot before the competition
even began, something that took Clemens a little while to get
over.

”Four or five days, and it showed in my play,” Clemens said
Monday. ”I went to the coach and I said, ‘Look, I’m frustrated.
What do I do?’ (He said), ‘Well, you can’t do anything. Go out
there and play like you can,’ and that’s what I did.”

Clemens appears at least to have beaten out Kevin O’Connell for
the No. 3 job behind both Brunell and starter Mark Sanchez.

”I would say he’s got a pretty strong chance of making this
team,” coach Rex Ryan said.

”Score!” Clemens said, tongue in cheek. ”That’s a heck of a
lot better than it could have been.”

Clemens has gone from the future of the franchise to trade bait
– or being cut by Saturday’s 53-man roster deadline – in just a few
seasons. The second-round pick out of Oregon in 2006 came to the
Jets with high expectations, but appeared on his way out this
summer after the team signed Brunell.

He still could be, despite the vote of confidence from Ryan.
Clemens is due to make $1.1 million this season, a high price tag
for a No. 3 quarterback.

”I don’t know all the games they play,” Clemens said. ”I take
Rex’s word. He’s always said he’s a man of his word and he’s going
to tell you how it is. So, when he says, ‘Yeah, I think he has a
pretty good chance,’ I feel like I have a pretty good chance. He
certainly didn’t say that I was a lock.”

Clemens addressed the media when the team reported for camp on
Aug. 1 in Cortland, N.Y., and said he expected to compete with
Brunell for the backup job. A few hours later, Ryan shot that down,
saying Brunell was the No. 2 guy.

”That was a situation where Rex and I had to visit behind
closed doors,” Clemens said, ”and just kind of try to get a
better understanding because I was under a different impression
coming in.”

Clemens has since put on a positive front, even amid rumors he
could be traded or cut. He’s 11 for 16 for 116 yards in two
preseason games; he didn’t play against Washington last week.
Clemens is expected to get lots of time in the preseason finale at
Philadelphia on Thursday night.

”Statistically, I haven’t blown anything away,” he said. ”My
percentage is good, yards aren’t real high (and) I haven’t thrown a
touchdown, but how I’ve graded out, it’s been my best preseason
ever.”

So, does he think he has been given a fair shake this
summer?

”To be the No. 3?” Clemens asked with a smile. ”Yes.”

Clemens has developed a good relationship with Brunell – ”I
can’t stand him. No, he’s a great guy.” – and the two talk about
hunting more than football. He believes he can still be an NFL
starter, but also wants to remain with the Jets, wherever that may
be on the depth chart.

”The Jets have an awesome chance to win the Super Bowl this
year and I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of it,” he
said. ”I hope that I’m here and we’ll just move forward with
whatever the results are come cut day.”