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Schottenheimer eager for new Jets job

Being a former quarterback himself, Brian Schottenheimer has a good idea of what type of player he wants to lead the Jets offense.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (June 21, 2006) -- Being a former quarterback himself, Brian Schottenheimer has a good idea of what type of player he wants to lead the Jets offense.

The big question is: Will it be Chad Pennington, Patrick Ramsey, Kellen Clemens or Brooks Bollinger taking snaps? The new Jets offensive coordinator has no idea now, but must have an answer before the regular season starts in September.

"The thing I look for first and foremost is leadership," Schottenheimer said in his first interview since being hired in February. "At the end of the day, when they step in the huddle and they call a play, they have to exude confidence. It's an over and over ordeal that takes place 65 times a game. Does experience mean leadership? I don't know. But all four guys have different ways they lead."

Right now, the four quarterbacks are evenly splitting repetitions in what coach Eric Mangini has called an open competition. Schottenheimer, son of Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, said the plan will stay the same heading into training camp in July.

Clemens, a rookie second-round pick, looked good during a minicamp last week. Pennington, recovering from a second major shoulder injury, is still not at full strength and might not be come July. Ramsey, acquired in a trade with the Redskins, had a disappointing performance during the last camp, while Bollinger seems to be the odd man out.

The 32-year-old Schottenheimer said he would have no qualms about starting a rookie.

"Not if he's the best player," Schottenheimer said.

Following Mangini's lead, Schottenheimer revealed little about the competition and who might have the edge to become the starter. When asked if he had an ideal date for when he wants to make a decision, Schottenheimer hedged.

"Would you love to put a date on it? Probably," he said. "But however long it takes to determine who the guy's going to be is what we're going to do. We're not going to rush this decision."

The quarterback competition makes for a difficult situation for Schottenheimer, in his first year as a coordinator. Though he has no previous experience in the job or calling plays, he had worked under his dad in San Diego since 2002.

He also coached the quarterbacks for his dad in Washington in 2001, and learned from Steve Spurrier while attending the University of Florida. Schottenheimer said he didn't have a particular offensive philosophy, instead said he was "flexible" and chose parts of systems he thought worked well at the various stops he made.

Still, he is pretty young to be running an offense and knows his age is a big question, especially since he is working for the 35-year-old Mangini.

"That's never bothered me, maybe because I started young," Schottenheimer said. "I always go back to the fact that players want to know how you can help them get better. Because of my knowledge and my passion for the game, when I walk in, they say, 'Hey this guy knows what he's talking about, he can help me,' whether it's Jeff George or Doug Flutie.

"Experience and knowledge and work ethic are more important than age."

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