- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Take an older guy like Brett Favre. Let's say he has a 19-game season, counting playoffs. In eight of those games he'll still have the magic in his arm. Five or six others, he'll be good enough to win, if he plays it smart. But there will be three or four games when he just isn't going to have it. The key thing is for the coach to realize that and try to win it with defense and running, and for the quarterback to go along with it. That's the tough part."
THE QUESTION that might define the Jets' season is, How strong are the running game and the defense? Right now, on paper, they look strong enough to sometimes carry a team. But does their new quarterback know that? "Favre had some great games last year but a few real bad ones, and unfortunately one of them came at the end," the scout says. "I think it's an addiction. A guy gets addicted to what he's accomplished, to what he thinks he's capable of."
Eric Mangini, the Jets' coach, is a defensive-minded guy. He's also 15 months younger than Favre. Brett has four years on Brian Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator. Before last Saturday's workout, Mangini drew an analogy between Favre and Rodney Harrison, the 35-year-old Pro Bowl safety whom he coached in New England. "Rodney did certain things on instincts," Mangini said. "You don't want to coach him out of those great instincts. Same thing with Brett. I don't want to coach him out of his great instincts."
In practice, each Favre completion registered tremendous cheering from the crowd, each misfire or drop drew groans. It was a typical first workout for somebody who hadn't thrown a serious pass since January. Afterward, Favre admitted that with all those fans in attendance, he "didn't want to look too bad, so I put a little more into it. I'll be sore tomorrow."
The Jets and Favre were scheduled for another 17 full practices, plus three games, before the regular-season opener. The Green Bay system in which Favre played for 16 years has been called West Coast. No one knows what that actually means, given that systems undergo so many modifications. The Jets' system, Mangini says, has "some West Coast principles" but contains elements from other systems too. Talk has been that the difference for Favre will be in the terminology, which seems to be something a 38-year-old quarterback can straighten out with a crash course. "Hello in English," Mangini says, "bonsoir in French, buongiorno in Italian."
THERE HAVE been times when it seemed as if an old star quarterback were dropped from heaven. But the year or two he spends with the team doesn't project it into the future very well. In the '93 season 37-year-old Joe Montana quarterbacked Kansas City to two playoff victories before losing in the AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs' pickup of Montana was an all-or-nothing shot—and the last time they won a postseason game.
Then there's the team that seems to have everything in place for a Super Bowl run except for a keynote quarterback, never mind his age. That would describe one club that was interested in Favre but didn't get him. The Vikings.