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Clowney Becomes the Favorite

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Hutchinson says David Clowney has emerged as the favorite to start opposite Jerricho Cotchery at wide receiver.

Clowney, 24, erupted early in the preseason (8 receptions, 222 yards) before breaking his collar bone and playing just two games in 2008.

When training camp began, Clowney hoped to grab the No. 2 wide receiver job that was up for grabs. But he struggled with inconsistent play and drops.

"I wanted to get that starting job immediately," he said. "A lot of times, I was trying to do too many things. I was trying to make the awesome catch when I didn't need to. That might have set me back a little bit. But at the same time, you learn from things like that. Ever since then, I've just been getting better each day."

So, he's sharpened his route running, bent on proving he's more than just a burner.

"He's starting to do the little things," quarterback Erik Ainge said. "You can see his game maturing. He's not just running past guys and catching touchdowns."

I think the Jets have always wanted Clowney to win the job. Having him as a vertical threat on the outside would force opposing secondaries to stay back and open things up underneath for Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller. Chansi Stuckey can use his short burst speed to stay in the ideal slot role.

I'll say this about Clowney. I haven't seen much of him, but he's impressed me everytime I have seen him. He made a big catch against Buffalo last season and would have had a touchdown at Seattle if Brett Favre didn't underthrow him. I never got why Eric Mangini wouldn't get him into the lineup, especially when separation became an issue for the receiving corps. At worst he could have been a Jonathan Carter type who kept defenses honest if not making a huge statistical impact.