Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Sep 2005

Testaverde Set to Return to Jets

Vinny from Long Island is returning to Jersey. Brooks Bollinger is still expected to start this week, but Testaverde will likely be on the field before too long. Testaverde was easily the best of the available quarterbacks. As we note in Pro Football Prospectus 2005, Vinny was pretty good in Dallas last year, except for his terrible performance during the fourth quarter of games. It will be interesting to see if that same pattern holds up this year with a different team.

Posted by: Al Bogdan on 27 Sep 2005

52 comments, Last at 29 Sep 2005, 4:41pm by Oswlek


by El Angelo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 1:22pm


The Jets have officially entered the D'Brickashaw Derby. This season is lost. Why not take a dice roll with someone like Riders of Rohan Davey, rather than use Vinny to get to the useless goal of 7-9 land?

by Noble (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 1:26pm

Risks lose jobs. I do agree with you though. Rohan would probably benefit from a Heimerdinger offense.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 1:31pm

This makes no sense (although as a Pats fan, it doesn't exactly sadden me). Why would they not trade for a Tommy Maddox, AJ Feeley (Saban would love to get a pick for next year even more than he would hesitate trading AJ to a division rival), Chris Simms, Dave Ragone, Drew Henson, Brad Johnson, Todd Baumann, David Garrard, etc. over a guy who nobody was interested in a month ago. Considering Pennington could likely be done for good, I'd throw Tennessee a #1 and more for Billy Volek.
I mean, were Tommy Kramer and Pat Haden unavailable?

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 1:34pm

The Bollinger lead Jets would seem to be just the tonic needed for the winless Ravens.

And while I think Vinny's a better bet than Brooks, I don't think either of them will get the Jets even to the useless land of 7-9.

I'm a little surprised Tim Couch isn't getting any discusion. IF his arm problems are really cleared up, he would seem a better choice for NY. But maybe his arm really isn't better, because he hasn't been mentioned for any of the spots that have opened up so far.

by Harry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:04pm

Where is Rohan these days? No one has snapped him up?

You have to feel sorry for Jets fans this year, and Jets players. 3 games in and the season is a lost cause.

by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:18pm

I just feel terrible for Pennington. He's suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (not to mention the NY media) with toughness, resilience and no complaints. He's a guy you enjoy routing for. I hope I'm wrong, but I think he's thrown his pass in the NFL. I just wish Chrebet had held onto the ball at the end of regulation so the last pass would've been a game winner. Although Pennington never won the championship we all thought he was capable of, he's a winner in my book.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:22pm

Why do so many people around here seem to think Rohan Davey is good? I just don't get it. He's never done anything to indicate that he'd be a competent NFL quarterback, and yet every time a quarterback opening comes up around here, we get comments about Rohan Davey. Why?

by BillT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:23pm

Because he used to play for the Patriots.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:24pm

I'm very surprised no team in need of a starting quality QB has tried to pry John Kitna away from the Bengals. Have people forgotten that he can play pretty well? He only lost his job because some kid named Carson Palmer was designated as the "future of the franchise" and then actually started playing that way. I don't know if the Bengals would trade him, but you never know...

by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:26pm

Why would they not trade for a Tommy Maddox, AJ Feeley ...

I think the key word there is "trade." They don't have to trade for Vinny. Maddox and Garrard would probably cost more in a trade than what the Jets are willing to give. And none of the other guys on that list are that much more likely to help them win than Vinny is.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:30pm

"Testaverde was easily the best of the available quarterbacks."

Damning praise.

The reality is that trades are extremely rare in the NFL, and especially so during the season. The cap has been set, and no one wants to lose what little depth they have at QB for the obvious reasons.

The irony for the Jets is that the current offensive alingment hasn't exactly protected their two pocket passers, so you bring in a guy with the mobility of a stop sign.

I've always liked Vinny, but I'd hate to see him hosed off the Meadowlands' turf.

On another note, remember that last week the Lions were trying out Jeff George and Shawn King.

You could always have George!

by Kami (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:33pm

I keep wondering to myself why Phillip Rivers's name never comes up in these kinds of discussions.

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:38pm

As a Jets fan, I'm very happy to hear this. Testaverde was clearly the best option available, and he won't cost the team a thing in terms of draft compensation. The Jets had no leverage whatsoever, and would have gotten raked over the coals by any team that they tried to make a deal with, and in the end Testaverde has a better chance of succeeding than a quarterback who is unfamiliar with the team.

I happen to think Vinny can still play and that the season may not be lost, but one way or the other, you play the games out, see what happens, and save your draft picks, because if the bottom does fall out of the tub, you'll be in position to get Matt Leinart. But I don't expect the bottom to fall out of the tub. If Chicago could win four games with their motley crew of quarterbacks, the Jets can do better than that. But the offensive line needs to be stabilized.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:40pm

Concerning Pennington, I guess it was unrealistic to expect that some guy that lloks like Herbie the elf (from that Rudolph Christmas TV program) was gonna be able to last in the NFL. :-) I feel bad for the guy too. If his career really is over, the Jets have got a future potential cap problem given he just got an $18MM signing bonus last year.

Re: 9

I think the Bengals (and any other playoff contender with a solid back-up)would need a lot to let go of Kitna. Pennington's and Fielder's injuries demonstrate how important it is to keep a solid guy available. I can't see the Jets giving up that much for it.

Most of the bad teams don't have solid back-ups. The previous comment about Volek might make the most sense as Tenn. really isn't going anywhere this year.

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:40pm

Re 12: Because Philip Rivers is terrible. And expensive.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:41pm

I don't think the Chargers could stomach the acceleration on Rivers' contract were they to trade him.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:47pm

They may not get the #1 pick, but getting close will make it simpler when Leinart does his best Eli Manning impression to avoid Arizona.

by Bassett (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:48pm

Welcome to my personal hell. In addition to Vinny, the Jets are talking about Jesse (the bachelor) Palmer, Brock Berlin, Doug Johnson, and Jonathan Quinn.

RE: #3

They don't want to give up their first rounders so they can get guys like non-starters Doug Jolley on their squad...

Seriously, I think they realize this is the end for Pennington and they wlll try to address QB in the offseason.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:50pm

I'll say this about Vinny, in his prime he threw the best looking passes I've ever seen. The ball looked like it was on a string.

Of course, that was a few years ago.

by mistamaxwell (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:02pm

Yeah, on a string directly to the other team. But, I agree with you mawbrew. No point in going 7-9. You might as well bottom out and try to get Leinart, or Omar Jacobs (throwin' a bone to MDS).

by BillT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:04pm

No more Davey dreams, MDS.


by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:07pm

I think it's a good move. That defense is good enough that if their running game picks up and they have someone like Vinny back there, they could push past the first level of the playoffs. And if not, stick Brooks Bollinger in there or sign up someone else. No use in trading a draft pick for a limited use player like Maddox, who obviously isn't your future. Someone mentioned A.J. Feeley. Why you shouldn't trade for him should be obvious. And Rivers would probably cost a first rounder at least.

by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:10pm

It seems funny that Quincy Carter hasn't been called in. I don't follow the Jets, but was he really that bad last year?

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:11pm

#18, yes, assuming they're ready to write off this year. I sincerely hope they're not planning on doing that. Why not use the pick now and try to get next year's solution now and try to get the wildcard?

Of course, we could always try for the best available Huard, Detmer, or McCown.

by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:13pm

You know, Rivers is probably the closest you could get to a Pennington clone.

by Josh (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:14pm

The best move for the Jets, though it is the least popular, is to unload some of their veterans for drafts picks for this coming draft and start stockpiling mad talent like crazy. When you look at the absurd talent that will be coming into The League in this years draft, the Jets should go for broke, tear apart this team and rebuild a strong foundation for the future. They have a number of aging veterans who could fetch a decent trade. If all works out the Jets could find themselves with the first and second overall picks in the draft and take Leinart-Bush one-two and be set to crush all for the next decade! At least that's how I run my franchise in Madden--if you're out of the playoff race, trade and stockpile picks to get better for next year. The Jets did that a few years ago with that fantastic first round with four picks that all turned out well.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:15pm

#22 No use in trading a draft pick for a limited use player like Maddox,

See, I think winning games and trying to make the playoffs is an end worthy of sacrificing a draft pick. If I'm a Jets fan, with the running game and defense, I'm not willing to mail in the season. Patrick Ramsey is another possible solution.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:20pm

Quincy Carter? He wasn't that great on the field (although not absolutely horrible), and he was apparently an off-the-field problem as well, though I don't remember the details.

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 3:53pm

How is Patrick Ramsey a solution? If you visit this site and you like their ways of measuring players (and I certainly do), you need to look at the numbers, and Testavede's DPAR and DVOA are much better than any other player. Plus he doesn't cost any draft choices, so you're not throwing away your future for immediate gratification.

You play with Testaverde this year, run it as far as you can and then you see where you are after the season. Hopefully Pennington will be able to recover with a full year to heal. If not, the team will have options. They could trade up for Leinart a la the Giants last year. David Carr might be available. Drew Brees might be available. Tim Rattay will probably be available. There's no reason to panic and do something stupid that will negatively impact the franchise.

I mean, does anyone remember the Dolphins attempts to replace Ricky Williams last year? What did it get them, other than two fewer first day draft picks?

by Ken (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:02pm

I'm surprised Vinny T is willing to hold off induction into the HOF to suite up one more time.

I hate to kid because this is just another incident of the Jets killing me. John Elway, a bad coach, a tough schedule, can't stop the run, the old astro turf at Giants stadium, Brigette Nilsen, a season ending injury... something always comes in the way. I'm losing my mind here.

I want Matt Leinart badly.

by Ken (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:03pm

I'd rather tear my own rotator cuff than watch the Jets trade for Patrick Ramsey.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:36pm

#29 I'm not a stats hound, and although I appreciate DPAR and DVOA, I don't study the rankings. However, I'm willing to bet everything I own several times over that this: Testavede’s DPAR and DVOA are much better than any other player is not true.

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:43pm

If the Jets realistically think that Pennington will be The Man for 2006, there's no reason whatsoever to actually trade for anybody unless you're giving up a late round pick, and even that's a gamble. However, mining the freely available market would make sense, ergo my thoughts on Davey. What's the worst thing that could happen? He stinks and they go 3-13? Even if Vinny plays to his maximum abilities for a calcifying 43-year old, he'll still lead them to a crappy record.

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:46pm

Any other available player. Better?

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:47pm

Any other available player. Better?

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 4:48pm

Any other available player. Better?

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 6:08pm

Check out The Brushback's take on the Jets' QB situation. Very funny.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 6:27pm

"They have a number of aging veterans who could fetch a decent trade. If all works out the Jets could find themselves with the first and second overall picks in the draft and take Leinart-Bush one-two and be set to crush all for the next decade!"

And then, because of the salary cap hits from trading all your veterans and the massive bonuses you need to give the one and two overall picks, you'd just tell all the rest of your draft picks to check back in a year or two.

What? You were exaggerating? Never mind me, then....

Seriously, though, what's the big hit on signing Testaverde? He's old and limited and makes mistakes, but the rest of the team is good enough to make the playoffs with a stopgap, and there's no better stopgap on the market than Testaverde.

Remember a few weeks ago when we were all calling the Jets a team full of above average players but no superstars, and that that is their strength in getting to the playoffs? That hasn't really suddenly changed.

by Noble (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 7:52pm

23: I can't find any real news on this, but I'm pretty sure that Quincy Carter has a 4 game suspension, for violating the league substance abuse policy, and he hasn't served it yet (because he hasn't been signed).

Vinny could concievably take the Jets to the playoff, for the exact reasons that Basilicus stated: Pennington isn't the focal point of the team. Plus, the AFC East looks pretty weak.

by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 10:53pm

Some hopeful news. According to Mortensen, the second opinion is that it might not be a tear and should not be career threatening.

by Stevie (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 12:13am

Re:26 You must be an awful Madden player to not make the playoffs. A better strategy is to trade your draft picks to a an 0-3 team (with the worst starting QB) for their draft picks, win the superbowl and end up with a top 5 pick again. Why doesnt this happen in the NFL? Division rivals trade picks for an even greater incentive to succeed.

by Kami (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 1:42am

Huzzah! Phillip Rivers's name came up a few times!

Seriously though, the Chargers are going to have to do something about Rivers, and surely he can be of some use somewhere..
Are there any other instances of a top pick like this staying on the bench because of a resurgent incumbent in the current era? I'm talking takes his team from 4-12 to the playoffs and goes to the Pro Bowl kind of resurgent, more than you'd even hope for from a #1 pick. Help me out here--I can't think of any. Does the system just screw the Chargers into having a money sink for the next few years and screw Rivers into losing the first several years of a possible career? Surely there's some way it could be done where the Chargers could get some (maybe a 2nd round pick?) compensation and it doesn't cost too much for the team that picks him up? I don't understand it well enough myself.

Just seems like a good trade to me (irrespective of cost, just talking about the player) for teams in situations like the Jets with a good team that's not really ready or willing to mail in the season but would ideally like to build toward continuing success in the future as well.

Re: the recent second opinions--Obviously if the prognosis is good on Pennington they would want an older veteran.

by Kami (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 1:53am

Just reread my post again, and realized the situation that seems so unique for the Chargers isn't just that Brees has had better comeback success than other QBs (Kitna was on my mind as a comparison), but that he was only a couple years older than their next prospect.
In hindsight, giving up so early seems like the right thing to do when the guy you're giving up on is Leaf, but Brees managed to screw them over, in a sense, by taking them to the playoffs. And I say this as a huge fan of both Brees (Purdue grad) and the Chargers (Born in SD).

Sorry--I don't mean to be taking this off-topic, as really my main concern is a "what-if" scenario involving the Jets, who are the topic at hand.

by J-Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 2:16am

Vinny fits perfectly into Heimerdinger's offense that likes to throw it downfield. The Jets defense is good enough to earn them a wildcard berth. Watch as Brooks Bollinger *What a porn name* guides the Jets to a win next week just by letting the D carry the team.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 3:23am

Correct me I I'm wrong, but isn't this the same Jets team that went 2-4 the last time Testaverde filled in for Pennington?

News flash to Jets fans: you still need to play the Patriots twice, as well as the Falcons, Panthers, Bucs, Chiefs, Cincinati, Oakland, and the Chargers. Do you really think simply good defense will be good enough to win enough of those games to have a good shot at the making the wild-card?

by Johnny Jets (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 3:23am

Quincy Carter cannot be counted on. He went missing for a playoff game earlier this calendar year.

The Redskins asked the Jets for too much for Patrick Ramsey. Which is about right. The Jets were at their mercy.

Play it out with Testaverde and Bollinger. If they're 4-11 let Kingsbury start the final game. Then Testaverde retires. Bollinger and Kingsbury may both prove that they cannot play. Then you either go back to Pennington (I'm against that myself) or you draft a QB in Round 1. You have a lot of money going to two QBs? So be it.

Vince Young, Omar Jacobs, Reggie McNeal, Darrell Hackney, Matt Leinart- all possibilities.
I think Philip Rivers can be real good, but it would really depend on what the Jets would have to trade away.

by Johnny Jets (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 3:26am

re: 45

That 2-4 mark was attributable more so to Paul Hackett than anybody else. If you watched all those 6 games you'd agree.

Now I agree with you that the Jets probably cannot win many games this season.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 3:52am

Oswleck, that Brushback site is great. Its like The Onion for sports. Did you read the article about Mike Sherman?

by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 09/28/2005 - 3:54am

Re 45: Actually, it's not the same team at all. The 2003 team featured an old, slow defense that was brutally bad against the run and an indifferent set of receivers. The defense is vastly improved, and the receiving depth is a bit deeper. On the other hand, the offensive line is significantly weaker judging from the early returns, and it's imperative that the team keep defenders out of Vinny's face, because that's when the interceptions start coming.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/29/2005 - 9:35am

The Jets can afford to trade for Rivers, but can the Chargers afford to trade him? It seems that there would be a large accelerated cap hit due to his signing bonus.

I think that after the season, the Chargers are going to have to trade Brees for whatever they can get, and go into 2006 with Rivers under center.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/29/2005 - 9:35am

The Jets can afford to trade for Rivers, but can the Chargers afford to trade him? It seems that there would be a large accelerated cap hit due to his signing bonus.

I think that after the season, the Chargers are going to have to trade Brees for whatever they can get, and go into 2006 with Rivers under center.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/29/2005 - 4:41pm


just did. The Davenport line was hilarious.