When Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford went down a few weeks ago against Carolina, everyone feared the worst. And those fears became reality when it was found out that Bradford had torn his ACL and would miss the remainder of the year.
Enter Kellen Clemens.
Drafted by the New York Jets in 2006 with the 49th pick in the 2nd round, Clemens doesn’t have enough stats to truly define who he is as a quarterback. In his seven NFL seasons, Clemens has 10 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 2,230 passing yards, and a passer rating of 62.0.
Clemens was originally selected to backup retired Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, and because of that, he did not see the field much. In 2006, he had one rush for eight yards in his debut, with no pass attempts. His rookie season consisted of only two pass attempts in total.
In week 2 of the 2007 season, Clemens finally made his first career start, nearly leading the Jets to a comeback victory over the Ravens, but falling just short of the win, losing 20-13. He would not play again until week 8 against the Bills, in which Clemens struggled, throwing two interceptions. For the majority of the next two years, Clemens would back up players such as Mark Sanchez and Brett Favre, before being released by New York in 2010.
After moving around from Washington and Houston, Clemens was signed by the St. Louis Rams on December 7th, 2011 from waivers. Clemens would make his debut against the Cincinnati Bengals, with both Bradford and backup A.J Feeley hurt. Against the Bengals, Clemens went 25 of 36 for 229 yards, with a 25-yard touchdown pass, but the Rams would lose 20-13.
In 2013, Clemens would make his debut on Monday Night Football against the red-hot Seattle Seahawks. Despite a costly interception, he held his own against the stout Seahawks defense. In the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Clemens led the Rams to a potential game-winning score, but were stopped one yard short of scoring when the controversial decision to throw the ball instead of run cost the Rams on fourth down. Against the Titans, he went 20 of 35 for 210 yards and a touchdown, but a late fumble sealed St. Louis’ fate as the Titans wound up winning 28-21.
Two weeks ago, St. Louis came into Indianapolis as huge underdogs, as the Colts were coming off a huge comeback against Houston. Clemens only attempted 16 passes in the game, but threw for 247 yards, and two touchdowns, both to rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin, who had his breakout game after struggling all season. The Rams wound up winning 38-8.
Now, back from their bye week, the Rams are still entrusting the team in the hands of Clemens, and, while he isn’t flashy or a long-term answer, he has proven that despite his inexperience as a frequent starting quarterback, he has a good arm and makes the key plays to help drive the offense down the field, although two poor plays cost the Rams’ two possible wins.
St. Louis has the third toughest remaining schedule in the NFL, so the team and Clemens will surely be tested. They get to face each division rival once more, and have the Bears this week.
Rams fans should be glad that we have Kellen Clemens on the roster, because, while he is inexperienced, he has shown what he can do on the field, both in the air and on the ground.