AFC East: Jason Goode

Clemens still in Jets QB battle, could drop to No. 3

August, 17, 2008
8/17/08
12:25
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- To put his New York Jets preseason debut in perspective, Brett Favre made a joke that 10 days ago he was doing yard work.

And 10 days ago Kellen Clemens was contending with Chad Pennington to be the Jets' starting quarterback.

Now Favre is the clear-cut No. 1, Pennington is with the Miami Dolphins and Clemens could be in jeopardy of being third on the depth chart.

Clemens was victimized by four dropped passes and tripped over his center twice, but for the second time in as many preseason games he was outplayed by last year's practice squad quarterback, the undrafted Brett Ratliff.

The first player Jets coach Eric Mangini mentioned -- unsolicited -- in his news conference after the 13-10 loss to the Washington Redskins in the Meadowlands was Ratliff, who nearly drove the Jets to a last-second victory.

Ratliff at the very least should've been credited with orchestrating a drive to send the game into overtime, but Jets kicker Mike Nugent missed a 23-yard field goal as time expired.

"Ratliff had a nice day," Mangini said. "He did a lot of positive things while he was in there."

Ratliff completed 13 of his 19 attempts for 148 yards. He finished with a 91.6 passer rating.

"I've put in the time and effort in the offseason, and I'm learning the offense," Ratliff said. "I'm getting comfortable with the guys, and it's showing."

Redskins rookie Colt Brennan connected with tight end Jason Goode for a 33-yard touchdown to put the Redskins ahead with 1:09 to play.

Ratliff took over on New York's 30-yard line. He completed four of his first five passes on the series for 54 yards, putting the Jets five yards from the goal line. He took two shots into the end zone before Mangini summoned Nugent.

"I've liked his progress," Mangini said of Ratliff. "There were a couple of plays early that he didn't make the decisions that I was hoping for, but he was able to come back, regroup and move the ball down the field in a pressure situation -- 1:09 left, three timeouts -- and to get us where he got us, giving us a shot to win the game and throw it in the end zone, that's really positive."

As for Clemens, he completed five of 12 passes for 63 yards. Tight ends Bubba Franks and Dustin Keller had two bad drops on third downs. Franks definitely would have made a first down, while Keller had a little room to run. David Clowney dropped a would-be gain of 13 yards.

"That is a tough evaluation," Mangini said of Clemens' performance. "The ball was there and it was definitely catachable. When he fell down, that was more a function of the center stepping on his foot than the turf getting him."

Clemens' two-game totals: nine of 18 for 94 yards, no TDs, no interceptions.

Ratliff's stat line: 27 of 39 for 400 yards, two TDs, no interceptions.

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