Over the last ten seasons, the New York Jets have had a list of starting quarterbacks as diverse as their records during this span. Beginning with the 2002-2003 season the Jets have made the playoffs 5 times, with 2 AFC Championship Game Appearances. During this span they have been led at quarterback by Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington, Brooks Bollinger, Quincy Carter, Kellen Clemens, Brett Favre, and Mark Sanchez. They all have had bad moments, some of them have had good moments, and so I ask you GGN, who has been the best Jet quarterback of the past 10 years?
While he was a great Jets QB, Vinny went out with a whimper starting in the 2002-2003 season. After the Jets fell to 1-3, Chad Pennington replaced Testaverde, and the rest, at least for that year, was history. Pennington led the Jets to an AFC East championship as Vinny sat. That year he posted a 65.1 completion percentage, with 3 touchdowns and 3 picks. The 2003-2004 season was even worse for Vinny. After Chad Pennington was injured in a preseason game against the Giants, Vinny took over to start the year. Testaverde went 2-5 during that span, bringing his record over the last 2 years to a horrific 3-8. Vinny did have 7 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions during that span, but the Jets were terrible that year. He then returned for the Jets when they were wracked by injury in the 2005 season, and beat what was a very good Tampa Bay team early in the year, before, naturally, losing his next 3 games.
Boy, I’ve got some good memories of the Jets with Chad Pennington. Chad took over the 2002 season threw for 3,120 yards and 22 touchdowns, and led the Jets to the only home playoff game I have ever been to, a 41-0 murder over the Colts. Sports Illustrated was touting him as the next great quarterback in the NFL, better then Mike Vick when he was first dominating with the Falcons. Everything was going great, and then he got hurt. Pennington missed the first 6 games of the 200 season and the jets limped to the finish line at 6-10. But then Chad came back from the dead! The jets started off 5-0 the next season, but then Chad reinjured his rotator cuff, and the Jets limped to the finish line at 10-6. Chad threw for 16 touchdowns and 9 picks that year, and the jets were eliminated in the second round in the Doug Brien game. In 2005 Pennington had more drama with his rotator cuff, having surgery in October, and the Jets struggled, going 4-12. However in 2006, with the vaunted offensive attack of Brian Schottenheimer, Pennington somehow thrived! Chad threw for 3,352 yards, had 17 touchdowns and the jets made it to the playoffs. In 2007 the Jets were horrendous however, as Chad led them to a 1-7 start, before being benched, and then replaced by Favre.
Carter, the former Montreal Alouette, Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wing, Kansas City Brigade and Abilene Ruff Rider, went 2-1 when the Chad Pennington was injured in 2004. He then suffered a drug relapse, and disappeared into the football underworld known as the AF2, never to be heard from again.
Bollinger, the current head football coach at Murray Hill high School in Minnesota, was a career backup. That is of course until both Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler went down with injuries in 2005. After 41-year-old Vinny Testeverde failed to perform, in came Brooks! The Jets ended up 4-12, and Brooks ended up a Florida Tusker in 2009.
Clemens was signed in 2006, but barely played as Chad dominated. In 2007 however Chad was injured and in week 2 in came Clemens to play the Baltimore Ravens. I actually remember this game! The Jets were getting killed, but then Clemens led an incredible comeback, only to be thwarted when, on the last play of the game, with the jets trailing 20-13, Justin McCareins dropped a wide-open touchdown pass. That was the first time I can remember crying about the Jets. THANKS JUSTIN! Anyway Clemens was a pretty good backup throughout his tenure with the Jets. The highlight of his career was probably beating the 1-11 Buccaneers when Sanchez was injured during his first season. He is now bouncing around the league as a second stringer.
Do we really need to see any pictures involving Favre? Everyone knows how this turned out. The Jets were 8-3. Favre was incredible. Then it all fell apart. Favre threw 8 picks, took a couple pics and sent them to Jenn Sterger, and only threw for 2 touchdowns in his final 5 games. In week 17 he led the Jets to a loss, against Chad Pennington and the AFC East champion Miami Dolphins.
Not much needs to be said here for Mark. In his three years the Jets have been mediocre, spectacular, and then mediocre again. He has won more playoff games then any other Jet QB, but hasn’t reached the Promised Land yet. Obviously this year with a porous offensive line Sanchez really struggled, but looking at his body of work as a whole as a Jet, he has been pretty effective, and has played very well in just about every playoff game he has been in, but the jury is definitely still out in him after this years performance.
So obviously this is a two horse race, between Chad and Sanchez. At times the last two years the Jets have won despite some of Sanchez’s mistakes. The two AFC Championship game teams both had great defenses, and solid running games. That being said Sanchez has played very well in every Jets playoff win, without putting up huge numbers. Chad never made it passed the second round (Even though he got a bad brake when Doug Brien’s kick hit the crossbar) but there were years, 2002 stands out immediately, where the Jets really won because Chad dominated. Those Jets teams with Chad, and Curtis Martin were good but never good enough. Chad had potential to become a great QB, but because of all his injuries he never fully panned out. With the benefit of looking back at a full career, Chad’s tenure with the Jets was marked by flashes of brilliance, injury after injury, and ultimately a messy divorce. No one knows how Sanchez will turn out, but based on what has happened so far in his pro career, I think he is the best Jets quarterback since Pennington took over in 2002.