MMQB Mail (cont.)
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME ... AND BECAUSE YOU CAN ONLY MOW YOUR GRASS SO MANY TIMES. From Steve of New Berlin, Wis.: "In all honesty, do you think Favre's coming back for spite or for the love of the game? I'm a 40-year-old former Favre fanatic and shareholder of the Packers. I taught my son to look at Favre for what is good about sports. Now I'm ready to take all of his stuff and pitch it. Most Packer fans I've talked to believe it's out of spite. He's shown us his true colors and in my opinion doesn't care about Packer fans. His upcoming signing with the Vikings proves that.''
I think Favre is doing this more because he wants to play football than because he wants to stick it to the Packers. Not that he doesn't feel some of that emotion, for sure. But I believe it's more that he wants to play for a coach (Darrell Bevell) who was one of his all-time favorites, and in a system he knows by heart and on a team that has a legitimate chance to contend for a Super Bowl if the quarterback plays well.
I understand your emotions, and I will not attempt to diminish them. I remember talking to Favre at length last year when he was strongly considering coming out of retirement. I told him how one of the things he needed to realize was if he came back, particularly for a team like Minnesota, he was going to alienate lots of his loyal Packer followers forever. You're the perfect example of what I was talking about.
EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW BY NOW: MACK BROWN LEADS THE NATION IN CODDLING. From Steve Sheffey of Dugway, Utah: "I read about Vince Young and I am wondering how he was 'handled' by those in his inner circle in high school and college? I get the feeling he was WAY too coddled by a large group of people in his life. Did they not prepare him for the possibility of failure? Judging by Vince's comments and actions ... obviously not!''
Look, I wasn't in Austin. I don't know what happens between athletes and the football staff and the university. So this is more of a gut feeling than anything else. Do not take it as gospel. Vince Young was probably made to feel like Superman at UT, and you're absolutely right -- it doesn't appear that anyone taught him how to deal with adversity. It's a weakness in a lot of prima donna athletes, but the best coaches in college (and the pros) are good at making sure their charges move on from where they are with some mental calluses.
Case in point: Tom Brady at Michigan. Early in his career there, he was buried on the depth chart and told Lloyd Carr he was thinking of transferring. Carr didn't say, "Oh, Tom, you're the best and don't worry -- you're eventually going to win the starting job.'' He said, in essence, that Brady was free to transfer, but if he did, he was just going to start over at ground zero somewhere else and have to prove himself all over again. So why not stay and battle the players here, because you know you're capable of beating them out if you play your best?
QUESTION OF THE YEAR. From Matthew Edwards of Spring, Texas: "Does Rex Grossman really scare Dan Orlovsky? As a Texans fan, Grossman scares me. BOTH of them scare me. Wasn't there anyone better to replace Sage Rosenfels?''
I was shocked the Texans paid legit money -- a $2.4-million bonus -- for Orlovsky, a guy there wasn't much competition for out there. And if there was one other team willing to pay an unproven player who hadn't shown much upside, that's the kind of commitment you don't make, in my mind. All I can say is Gary Kubiak valued Orlovsky highly, and it's going to be up to him and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to develop him now.
THE JETS AND BEARS SEEM THE MOST LOGICAL PLACES. From Dennis Greenland of Arlington, Texas: "In your opinion, where does Plaxico Burress play in '09 [assuming he plays]? As much as the Bears need a front-line WR, I'd be real uncomfortable having such a mental midget play for them, even for one year.''
One thing about Burress: He's a smart football player, and though he has angered Bill Cowher and Tom Coughlin over time, he's a gamer who's loved by teammates. I wouldn't be too worried about the disruption factor there. The Jets (location) and Chicago (opportunity) are the two best spots for Burress, and if I were Bears GM Jerry Angelo, I'd probably want to bring him in, even if it were for only eight games. He could be that kind of temporary difference-maker.
NO. From Brian Faulkner of Clifton Heights, Pa.: "Great column as usual. My question is, do you think it is possible the Patriots might either trade Tom Brady or not re-sign him? I know it is too early to tell if Brady will perform at the same level after his knee surgery, but that possibility may be there. Also, it can be argued that Bill Belichick's system can make anyone a star QB in the NFL. So far he's 2-for-2 with Brady and Matt Cassel. Why wouldn't the Patriots let Brady and his high payroll go and promote some unknown QB? With the system in place they would still be successful. Your thoughts?''
Not a chance, Brian. Belichick views Brady as a selfless offensive coordinator on the field, and barring some ridiculous scenario I cannot envision, Brady's going to be a Patriot for the rest of his prime. It's one thing to think, "Well, we did it with Brady and Cassel. We can do it with Kevin O'Connell or Matt Gutierrez.'' What happens if O'Connell's the bust who doesn't fit the Pat image and play well? Then the Patriots have flushed a season or two down the toilet. And remember one thing: With the prospect of a capless 2010, the Patriots, who are one of the highest-revenue teams in the league, won't be worried about what they have to pay to keep Brady.
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