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Friday, February 20, 2009
Jets have located their veteran QB


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan found a veteran quarterback he liked and signed him.

But not the kind you'd envision.

Pelted with questions from reporters who aren't convinced the Jets' next quarterback is on their roster, Ryan explained a veteran presence already exists.

"If I could bring in a guy with 16 years NFL experience and, let's just say, two Super Bowls," Ryan said Friday at the NFL scouting combine, "I'd bring that guy in.

"That's what I did in hiring Matt Cavanaugh. So I think that's our veteran. We have a veteran quarterback presence in Matt Cavanaugh. I'm very comfortable with Matt being the mentor for these young quarterbacks."

The Jets hired Cavanaugh to be their quarterbacks coach. Cavanaugh, who played for four NFL teams, was the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator when they won the Super Bowl. Ryan was their defensive line coach.

Cavanaugh also was the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator for two years and quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. Ryan plucked him off the University of Pittsburgh staff.

Ryan has been consistent in his comments about how the Jets will replace Brett Favre.

The rookie head coach insists he's confident in Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge and that there will be an open competition. Ryan said "If you ask the organization, it's probably split right down the middle, who they think can do it" and called Ainge "the dark horse."

The Jets haven't denied they might draft a quarterback. They've interviewed the top-rated passers at the Senior Bowl and the combine.

But on the topic of bringing in a veteran, Ryan's response about Cavanaugh seemed to indicate they won't be on the lookout.

"The first thing I would think is, 'To do what? To be the backup quarterback?' " Ryan asked.