If Sunday didn’t prove to the Jets that they need to make a quarterback change, then they’re in for a rough season. Chad Pennington is not a bad quarterback. He completes a high percentage and usually makes few mistakes. He does a great job with the strengths that he has, but his upside is very limited and the Jets will not win with him.
Maybe if the Jets had a strong running game they could stick with Pennington. Unfortunately, the Jets are tied for 31st in the league at 3.0 yards per carry. Maybe if the Jets had a strong defense they could rely on Pennington to manage the game. But, the Jets defense is ranked 27th in points per game allowed at 27.6 points per game. Pennington is not the type of quarterback that can win with these team deficiencies.
Pennington’s weaknesses were made glaringly evident this Sunday against the Giants. Coming into the game Pennington had thrown just 2 balls over 20 yards. On Sunday Pennington attempted 6 passes over 20 yards, 2 were caught because of great efforts by Lavernues Coles, 3 were incomplete and one was picked off on the goal line by rookie cornerback Aaron Ross. Without a deep threat, the Jets offense has no chance of putting up points.
Aaron Ross intercepted Pennington twice and those two plays are the reasons Pennington cannot remain the Jets quarterback. With the Jets driving and down by just four, Pennington heaved the ball (seemingly as far as he could), into double coverage, 23 yards to the endzone and it was easily picked by Ross. Then, with 3:30 left in the fourth, Pennington threw a 4-yard pass to the right and Ross jumped the route and took it 43 yards for the score that put the game away. Ross was able to play up on the receivers knowing that Pennington could not take the deep shot. When a rookie cornerback is figuring this out, you have a problem.
The Jets have tried to build around Pennington. They have Cotchery and Coles that are both great at short passes and yards after the catch. The Jets also signed Thomas Jones who is a great pass catching running back. But, the Jets offense is still struggling. I don’t know if Kellen Clemens is the answer, but Pennington certainly isn’t. At 1-4, the Jets have almost no chance of making the playoffs and should concentrate on figuring out their identity without Chad Pennington.