Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jets sign QB Mark Brunell for 2 years

To no one's surprise, the Jets signed quarterback Mark Brunell to a two-year contract to backup and help mentor Mark Sanchez. Brunell started one game last year for New Orleans where he went 15-30 for 102 yards and an interception playing with mostly backups. Before that, his last action was way back in 2006 with Washington.

The lefty will be 40 years old this season, so he's been around the block a few times. By the same token, he's finished as an effective quarterback. This move is being made to give Sanchez another voice in his ear who has had success in the playoffs, nothing more. In terms of actually playing quarterback, Kellen Clemens would probably be more effective in the case of a Sanchez injury. Even Erik Ainge and Kevin O'Connell have far more physical talent to get the job done at this point.

If Sanchez stays healthy and plays 16 games or close to it, then the veteran presence of Brunell is a positive. But if Sanchez gets hurt and the Jets need to rely on Brunell for an extended period of time, the Jets' talented receiving corps will go to waste. Granted, it's not as if Clemens is Peyton Manning back there, and the Jets do have the defense and running game to take a lot of pressure off the quarterback, but there is no reason to have any confidence in Brunell's quarterbacking ability.

This signing likely marks the end of Clemens's Jet career. Teammates have called him a true professional and have supported him as a backup, but the front office must not think he offers enough in terms of leadership or talent to keep him around. Expect Ainge and O'Connell to battle for the third quarterback job. Give Ainge the edge after an effective 2009 preseason, but O'Connell does have more physical tools, so he stands a fighter's chance. There is a slim chance the Jets keep both Clemens and Brunell, but they may feel either Ainge or O'Connell has more long-term growth potential.

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