Forgotten Jets: Kellen Clemens
Updated: May 18
Kellen Clemens spent the first five years of his NFL career with the New York Jets. Drafted out of the 2nd round with the 49th overall pick by New York in 2006, Clemens came onboard with hopes of him being a full-time starter one day.
The 23-year-old would be the secondary option to Chad Pennington and the middle man in front of Patrick Ramsey. Being Oregon’s QB1, Clemens would mainly be sidelined at QB2 throughout this Jets tenure.
2006 only saw two appearances with one passing attempt that went incomplete. He would run the ball twice for 10 total yards.
2007 would be completely different for the sophomore quarterback, with Chad Pennington falling on the IL in the season opener vs New England. Clemens would complete his first NFL pass and went 5-for-10 passing in the 38-14 loss. His first start would come in Week 2 against Baltimore, whose defense shut him down for the first three quarters, with the Jets down 20-3 at one point. He would throw an interception during a possible game-tying drive to mark a loss in his first career start as New York fell, 20-13. Clemens would replace the healthy but struggling Pennington again later in the season. A 3-5 record in 8 games started (appeared in 10 total games) for Clemens, who threw more interceptions than touchdowns, with a 1-7 losing effort by Pennington would have the Jets miss playoff football after making the Wild Card a season prior.
2008 featured a new starting QB in the name of Brett Farve, putting Clemens back in that QB2 slot. Due to Farve’s success and healthy consistanty he would not need to be replaced at anytime. With that the back-up was truly limited to his back-up role, only appearing in two games and making five passing attempts, (3-for-5 passing for 26 yards and an interception).
2009 was a preseason duel of possible starters. New York released Farve during the offseason and went out to draft Mark Sanchez in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, mosving up via trade.
Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan had both Sanchez and Clemens battle it out during training camp and the preseason for the starting role. The rookie from USC won the battle over the seasoned vet and was named the starter. On December 3rd, Mark Sanchez suffered a sprained PCL, forcing Kellen Clemens into the mid-game action vs the Buffalo Bills. He would also start the next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who came in 1-11.
New York would win despite of the touchdownless 12-for-23 passing performance, 26-3. Clemens would be at 50% passing (13-for-26) and threw for 125 yards with no touchdowns or turnovers in the ‘09 season.
2010 featured a one-year contract being signed to stay playing with the Giants’ stadium team. Only a single relief game with two passing attempts would show on the yearly stat column.
2011 would mark the end of Kellen Clemens’ time with the New York Jets by him signing with the Washington Redskins. He would then bounce between three different teams and roles throughout 2011 and would only start/play three games, all of which were with the St. Louis Rams
Clemens would play in his last NFL game in 2017 with the Chargers, he appeared in eight games and had the same amount of passing attempts.
NEW YORK JETS STAT LINE (5 years, 25 games / 9 games started)
4-5, 147/284 (51.8%), 1,686 passing yards, 5-11 TD-INT, 59.7 QBR
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