Who Is Kellen Clemens and What I Would Ask Him in an Interview
In 2006, Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini and GM Mike Tannenbaum felt a strong need to find a new franchise quarterback to possibly replace Chad Pennington at some point in the near future since Pennington was coming off two horrific injuries in three seasons.
The team passed on drafting Jay Cutler or Matt Leinart in the first round, selecting instead offensive tackle D' DBrickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold with their first two picks. Then, in the early part of the second round, the club drafted a young man from Oregon University named Kellen Clemens.
Clemens had a brilliant college career; he threw more yards, 2,390, and touchdowns, 16, than any sophomore in school history, surpassing even Dan Fouts, an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback.
Clemens finished his career with 7,555 yards passing, well was on his way to setting school records if it weren't for a serious ankle injury at the end of the 2005 season.
Many felt that the Jets were intent on making Clemens THE guy when he stepped in for Pennington who went 1-7 as a starter in 2007. Clemens was decent in his first real opportunity to play.
Against the Ravens in Week Two, he threw for 260 yards and a touchdown and almost led the Jets to a come-from-behind victory if it were not for a couple of touchdown drops by former Jet Justin McCareins.
Even though he played well at times, Clemens was average overall. He threw only five touchdowns, while throwing ten interceptions, completed only 52 percent of his passes, and looked like a fish out of water most of the time.
In training camp last summer, Clemens underperformed and was even being beaten out by Pennington, until the Jets pulled off the Brett Favre trade. With Favre in town, Clemens had to sit on the bench for another year wondering when his next opportunity would strike.
The Jets went 9-7 with Favre, and the legendary quarterback retired, leaving open another opportunity for Clemens. But, there is still question as to whether Clemens will ever start for the Jets.
The team drafted Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft and are marketing him throughout New York and New Jersey as the team's new starting quarterback.
With training camp just two months away, Clemens has to gear up for another starting quarterback competition, as he tries to prove, once again, that he can lead Gang Green.
If I were to sit down with Clemens for a one-on-one feature, I would ask:
1) What were your initial thoughts when you heard that the Jets had drafted Mark Sanchez?
2) How confident are you in your abilities to earn the starting job heading into training camp this year?
3) What have you done differently this offseason, as compared to the last two or three years, in your efforts to prove that you are the starting quarterback of the New York Jets?
4) Scouts and coaches have praised your arm strength and accuracy, but fans in New York are still curious to learn more about Kellen Clemens. Do you feel, now, in year four with Brian Schottenhiemer as your offensive coordinator, that you are comfortable with the offense game plan?
5) What were the toughest road blocks in understanding the system?
6) I remember hearing an interview with Coach Schottenheimer on the NFL Network in which he compared your situation to the situation to that of Drew Brees in San Diego when they drafted Phillip Rivers; if you had any communication with Brees to pick his brain about a situation like this, what do you think he would he tell you?
7) If you could describe your experience with the following people in one sentence how would you characterize your time with: Brett Favre? Chad Pennington? Eric Mangini? Rex Ryan?
8) Did Coach Mangini give you a fair shot at the starting job? Do you feel he believed in your abilities?
9) When you got the opportunity to play in 2007, what was the biggest lesson, or moment, or play that you took away from the game that gives an advantage today?
10) If you are the starting quarterback on Sept. 13, what should Jet fans expect from you?
11) What aspects of your game do you believe still needs work? Can you tell me what are you doing about it?
12) On a more personal note: What is your favorite movie? Favorite actor/actress? Favorite dinner? Favorite ice cream?
13) You are a cattle rancher, do you work at the ranch during the offseason?
14) What do you do on the ranch, and what does the ranch mean to you?
15) The best part of running a ranch is what?
15) One of your hobbies is horse back riding, would you consider owning or training a race horse one day?
16) What has it been like living in New Jersey, as compared to your home of Oregon? Pros and cons?
17) What is your favorite play or play call to run either performed in college or in the NFL?
18) Let's try a couple of hypothetical situations. You are down by four with less than three minutes to play. It is 2nd-and-2 at your own 36-yard line, and you have only one timeout.
What play would you rather run: a play action and look for a wide open receiver down field, check down to a receiver across the middle, a flea flicker to get the safeties to bite, or do you run the ball to pick up the first down and then try to hurry to the line for the next play?
19) You have moved to your opponent's three yard line; the clock is ticking down to 15 seconds; it's third down and goal against a stout Patriots defense, what would you call? A fake to Thomas Jones and try to scramble on a naked bootleg, diving into the corner of the end zone?
Drop back a couple of steps and loft the ball to the corner of the end zone? Or try to ram it into the end zone with either Jones or Leon Washington?
20) Would winning the starting job mean a sense of vindication for you personally?
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