Who will be under center for the Jets in ’09?

Another first-year head coach, and more quarterback talk at the combine, as the Jets’ Rex Ryan fielded several questions on the team’s quarterback situation.

Ryan started by saying he has confidence in the three quarterbacks on the roster — Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge — and that as it stands, it’s an open competition for the starting job. No surprises there.

“I think if you ask (within) the organization, it’s probably split right down the middle, who they think can do it,” Ryan said. “Then you have Erik Ainge. It’s funny, he’s a dark horse, maybe he doesn’t get the exact reps as the other two guys, but he’s definitely going to get an opportunity as well. It’s definitely an open competition.”

Neither Ryan nor Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum completely dismissed the idea of bringing in a veteran quarterback via free agency, but Ryan said he considers QB coach Matt Cavanaugh as the mentor for the young quarterbacks.

“If I could bring in a guy with 16 years of NFL experience, and let’s just say two Super Bowls, I’d bring that guy in,” said Ryan. “That’s what I did in hiring Matt Cavanaugh. I think that’s our veteran. …We have a veteran quarterback presence right there.”

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