HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington will miss two to four weeks with a strained right rotator cuff.
Pennington was hurt in the first quarter of a 22-17 loss to
Buffalo on Sunday when he scrambled up the middle for a 12-yard
gain. Rather than sliding, he elected to dive ahead and was hit
from the right side by linebacker London Fletcher, who forced a
Pennington continued playing, but his arm started to stiffen and he left the game in the fourth quarter after talking with coach
Herman Edwards. The conversation took place after Pennington's last
two drives ended with an interception and a 13-yard sack.
Former Cowboys starter Quincy Carter will start Sunday against Baltimore.
"There are a lot of reasons I'm here," said Carter, "but this is one of the biggest ones. I didn't sign [with the Jets] to earn a chance to play this way, and I feel terrible for Chad. But now I've got to step in and lead this team. I've been there before."
The Jets, 6-2 at the halfway point of the season and trailing first-place New England by a game in the AFC East, host Baltimore on Sunday, then go on the road for games at Cleveland (Nov. 21) and Arizona (Nov. 28), before returning home again to play Houston (Dec. 5).
"It's always kind of interesting when they go down," Edwards
said Monday. "Quincy came in and did a good job. That's why we
brought Quincy here, if something should happen it's good we had
foresight. He's here, he's played in a lot of football games, now
he has an opportunity to play."
An MRI exam Monday revealed the strain. Pennington started
rehabbing immediately to regain the strength in his arm.
For the second straight year, the Jets must play without
Pennington, who signed a $64 million extension before the season
started. Last year, he broke his left wrist in the preseason and
missed the first six games. Without him, the Jets struggled and
"Compared to what I went through last year, this is something
hard to take because I hate missing games and it's something I'm
not used to as a starter," Pennington said. "But at the same time
my cup's still half full, not half empty and I have a lot of great
expectations for our team."
Pennington is the league's No. 8-rated passer with an efficiency mark of 97.4. He has completed 144 of 216 attempts for 1,643 yards, nine touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Carter was cut Aug. 4 in a surprising move amid reports he failed a drug test, and the NFL Players Association has filed a request for arbitration in the case. He has 31 career starts. He completed two of three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown after replacing Pennington on Sunday.
While the addition of Carter at the beginning of the season appeared an ill fit -- some league observers believed he did not have the tools to play in the West Coast offense directed by coordinator Paul Hackett -- the four-year veteran is said to have assimilated the New York attack pretty well in practices. Hackett might make a few minor changes to take advantage of Carter's mobility, which is better than Pennington's.
"[Carter's] come in here and he's meshed in with our team,"
Pennington said. "He's studying really hard. He's absorbed
everything really well. I have full confidence in him."
Pennington's misfortune offers Carter an open audition for teams that might be interested in him after this season. Carter signed a one-year contract with the Jets so that he could go on the open market next spring.
"The important thing now is to keep the team going in a positive direction, to come in and win games," Carter said. "That's the biggest priority."
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.