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Mangini insists quarterback race is wide open

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Aug. 2, 2006) -- Though Chad Pennington has outplayed his competition for the open quarterback job, New York Jets coach Eric Mangini insists he has yet to make a decision on a starter.

Mangini said he will continue with the four-man rotation of Pennington, Patrick Ramsey, Brooks Bollinger and rookie Kellen Clemens during training camp, refuting a published report that Pennington had already won the job less than a week into practice.

"I can just tell you as the head coach of this football team what I told everyone in here is the same -- the rotation will continue and there is no change on that situation," Mangini said.

"I have not made up my mind yet. As soon as I make up my mind and name a starter I will definitely let you know."

Although it's been pretty clear that Pennington has looked consistently better than the other three in practice, Mangini said that the competition will keep going until he sees what he wants.

"I'm looking for a person to step up and show that they should be the starter," Mangini said. "It's a consistent theme, but it's something I really believe in. Someone has to win that spot. As soon as someone does, then that's the point where we'll make a decision. Until then, it's going to be open."

Asked specifically about Pennington, Mangini said, "Chad has made progress. He's done some good things. But you see it each day, where he'll hit a big play and then it comes back.

"Or Kellen makes a great throw and then an interception. I'm looking for consistency and I'm looking for someone to distinguish himself. I can't say that enough."

The Jets' first preseason game is Aug. 11 against Tampa Bay. Surely, Mangini wants to see his quarterbacks compete in game conditions before making a final decision on a starter.

When asked about the situation, Pennington said the only change he was aware of was the practice schedule, moved from 2 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. to avoid the heat.

"Everything is the same," Pennington said. "I don't know where I am as far as the other quarterbacks are concerned and I don't know when (Mangini) will make the decision."

Ramsey, acquired in the offseason in a trade from Washington, also said he knew of no decision being made.

"From my understanding, nothing has changed," Ramsey said. "We're going to continue the same way we've been doing things. I went into this camp expecting what the coaches have told us, and that's that this is a competition. It's been very evenly split up throughout camp."

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