Archive for June, 2009


Building The Perfect NFL Player: Running Back

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

During one of our recent Happy Hour podcasts, a guest mentioned in the chat about having a coach that was a combination of task master and players coach. Well, that got me to thinking, what about putting together the perfect NFL player? Over the next two weeks, I’m going to break down every NFL position (QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, CB, S) and, taking current NFL Rosters only, will build the perfect NFL player. Today’s look will be at building the perfect Running Back.

Head: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Peterson’s stats could fill in for almost any part of this list, but it’s the vision he possesses that is his greatest quality. In college at the University of Oklahoma, Peterson used that vision to amass three straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons, and was notable for some long runs, including a career-long 84-yard scamper his freshman season, and a 53-yard touchdown run while a junior. Despite injuries, he has a knack for finding the holes set by his line and getting through it quickly, all while looking at the next level. That has contributed to a 5.6 yard per carry average as a rookie, and a 4.8 yard-per-carry average the following season. As a rookie, he had six games where he rushed for at least 20 yards on a carry, including three rushes of over fifty yards. He built on that during his sophomore campaign, with 12 games with a carry of over 20 yards. His speed does contribute to getting him the distance, but it’s his ability to see the second level with the Linebackers and Secondary, and have them looking silly by the time he gets past them.

Hands: LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers

Another back whose body parts could fill in anywhere on this list, the NFL single season rushing touchdown leader has perfect hands that you always want touching the rock. As a threat in the backfield and as a receiving option, Tomlinson gives opponents fits thanks to his durability. Teams now regularly look for Running Backs who can contribute in both aspects, and that is a testament to the style of back Tomlinson is. While as a runner, he’s hit 1,000 yards every season, he’s also caught the ball at least fifty times a season, culminating in a career high 100 catches in the 2003 season, another NFL record. He also became the second player in NFL history to record 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a season (2006), which he shares with retired NFL Superstar Tiki Barber. It’s not just the ability to catch that makes him such a threat, but when Tomlinson has the ball, he doesn’t let go. Five of his seasons have seen him with three or fewer fumbles, including zero fumbles in 2007. Tomlinson is a mold unlike any other, but his hands help give him that dual threat capability.

Body: Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants

An NFL team is best when it has two different backs. A shifty, small, speed guy, and a big bruising back. What happens when the big bruising back is also a speedy guy? You get Brandon Jacobs. The “Earth” in the New York Giants “Earth, Wind, and Fire” rushing attack, the 6’4’’, 264 pound bruiser also runs the 40 in a respectable 4.5, giving him an extra addition. He started as the second banana, the bruiser to Tiki Barber’s speed in New York, before taking over the bulk of the duties in 2006. Since then, he’s only powered himself forward to two straight 1,000 yard seasons. That’s partly thanks to a five yard per carry rushing average each year, mainly because it takes two or three guys to knock him down, which usually allows Jacobs to hit the second level before teams pile on top of him. His size and his power helped earn him the nickname “The Juggernaut” and the perfect NFL body to punish defenses with.

Legs: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

They say speed kills, and Chris Johnson kills teams with his speed, which is why his legs are perfect in building an NFL player. Fourth in the nation with a 10.66 100m in college, Johnson epitomizes the speed NFL teams love to have complement the bruiser back (see above). At the NFL combine, Johnson ran a blazing 4.24 in the 40 yard dash, which stands today as the fastest ever for a running back. He parlayed that speed into a first round pick with the Tennessee Titans, and is still running hard. In his rookie campaign, Johnson rushed for 1,228 yards, including four games in which he had a carry over twenty yards. His 81.9 yards per game was tops among all rookies in 2008. With the speed Johnson carries, he’ll be keeping defenses in his dust for years to come.

Intangibles: Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys

Any of the running backs mentioned above would meet this need, but Barber stands out among them all. Despite being platooned in a running back by committee in Dallas, where he has yet to reach 1,000 yards in a season, Barber epitomizes a running back mantra in getting the “extra yard”. He holds the NFL record with seven broken tackles in one play, and led the NFL with 28 broken tackles during the 2008 season. When it comes to needing one yard, any of the players we’ve spoken about can get that yard, but few get the one yard, and then some, like Marion the Barbarian.

There are a number of running backs, all who fit different needs. Whether it’s a speed guy, a power back, someone with great hands, or a “Wildcat” option, finding the perfect running back requires a combination of a lot of different techniques. From Brandon Jacobs’s body to Chris Johnson’s speed, Adrian Peterson’s vision to LaDanian Tomlinson’s hands, put together by the determination of Marion Barber, this is a running back that will win games for any team.

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With Brett Favre All but a Minnesota Viking, Can They Follow Him?

Very often these days, many people overlook the chemistry necessary for a team to coexist and function. Super Bowl teams make or break not in Week Seven or Eight, but in training camp where the unity of a team is formed.

The Vikings are likely headed into its biggest season of the new millennium. The team features Adrian Peterson, potentially the most dangerous running back since Eric Dickerson, and Bernard Berrian, one of the most up-and-rising receivers in the past few years. Toss in a Hall of Fame quarterback and on paper this offense has the potential to be the most explosive team in the league.

Although, the biggest battle this team will face is being able to not only play consistently against big name teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but to be able to follow a leader that has spent almost half of his natural life defying them. On top of that, other players have already made their opinions known on what they think of the Favre (to-be) signing.

Deep-threat receiver Bernard Berrian made his immediate interest well known. Rookie Percy Harvin endorsed Favre, being a long-time fan.

Defensive end phenom Jared Allen even said that it would be an honor to play on the same team as Favre. Purple Jesus (Adrian Peterson) himself has rolled out the welcome mat.

However, players like linebacker Chad Greenway might have a little different perspective and could create a drama-filled training camp as players take “sides.” Greenway made public his mistrust for Favre, considering his 16 years of service to the Vikings cross-border rival, the Green Bay Packers. Greenway also cited Favre’s disposition which has been wavering on-off for about four years now.

Now, suppose that Greenway isn’t the only player with these views. Suppose a divide occurs. With such a divide, could Minnesota possibly be its own worst enemy?

Although not many are considering this, it would prudent to say it isn’t going to happen in some fashion. With that said, what can we expect heading into camp?

Civil war? Chaos? Or will the Vikings come together like they’ve been known to as a “land of the misfit players” that somehow find success in purple?

Only July will tell.

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Why July 3 Would Be the Perfect Time for a Brett Favre Signing

It seems all is quiet on the Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings issue, for a change.

However, talk that reporters having nothing to write about might just be the calm before the storm that is an official Favre-to-the-Vikings contract announcement. 

The buzz is this week might be the perfect time to for the Vikings organization to announce the signing. More specifically Friday, July 3, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com mentioned recently when looking over events in the near future. 

Florio gave good reasons for this prediction—ones that I could not disagree with because they make very good sense.

First of all, with the news last week that the future Hall of Fame quarterback was in Eden Prairie, Minn. getting his right arm evaluated after surgery in May, many would think that was a good time for the Vikings to end this never-ending story.

There was just one problem.

Head coach Brad Childress was on vacation with his buddy Andy Reid, the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Childress worked under Reid as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator before being hired as the Vikings head coach in 2006.

So that was a good indication that a Brett Favre press conference was not likely.

What about the weekend of July 10?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Childress’ daughter is getting married on July 11, so don’t expect any deal to be reported then. I am sure Cara Childress would never forgive her father for that one.

The team could announce the deal the following two weeks but it is pretty clear that this would not be in the best interest of the organization for two reasons:

1. This would cause a stir in the media too close to training camp. It might be a better plan to get the fireworks over sooner rather than later so players at camp aren’t affected (as much).

2. The Vikings single game tickets go on sale in the couple of weeks and the team would rather sell these tickets sooner than later.

So why July 3?

First of all, this is the one weekend Childress will not be in the middle of personal commitments and would have time for a rather large press conference.

If the team doesn’t want to create too much of a media uproar, this would be the time to do it as many reporters from various sites will be with their families during Independence Day.

Like I mentioned before, the team’s single game tickets will go on sale soon and a signing of the three-time NFL MVP would ensure that those tickets are eaten up by a hungry fan base.

Keep your eyes open this week Vikings fans, there is a good chance you will see more fireworks than just the ones in the sky.

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Vinny Perretta In The Zone: Minnesota Viking Rookie Free Agent Interview Part 2

                    Vincent Perretta Interview

The following is the continuation of the Perretta interview a week ago. Former Boise State wide receiver Vinny Perretta whose father Ralph Perretta was an NFL star offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers answered questions for the Bronco Blue Review. Vinny was asked to share some moments regarding his newest venture that of a free agent wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Here is what Vinny had to say about the Minnesota Vikings:

Question No. 1. How has rookie camps been going for you?

Vinny’s Answer: Rookie mini camp went very well for me. We just got done with OTA’s and now we have a month off before training camp starts. It was good to get my feet wet in an NFL system before camp starts. Hopefully I can hit the ground running.

Question No. 2. Are there any surprises that you care or are allowed to address?

Vinny’s Answer: No surprises. My dad played in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers for six seasons, and he told me what to expect. Having my dad to go to is something that I take advantage of because he has been there before and he knows what is going on.

Question No. 3. What are the coaches like in Minnesota?

Vinny’s Answer: The coaches are awesome. They are very knowledgeable and are just good guys in general.

Question No. 4. What are the players like in Minnesota?

Vinny’s Answer: The players have been awesome as well. The veterans treat us rookies like other veterans. They help us out on the field and in meeting rooms. Its nice to know that the veterans don’t’ try to push the rookies around (Vinny laughed).

Question No. 5. What are the fans like in Minnesota—do you find yourself in that same ole “gotta prove myself to everybody mode?”

Vinny’s Answer: I haven’t really met any of the fans yet. We have been at the facilities most of the time, so we haven’t really got to experience much of the city yet.

Question No. 6. How tough has the competition been at wide out so far? The talent at wide receiver is exceptional. All these guys can play. I am really impressed with all the WR’s. I believe that it starts with our receiver coach, George Stewart.

Question No. 7. Does it look like you will be making the team this year?

Vinny’s Answer: My goal is to make the team! I am focused on myself and giving it my all every single day. I haven’t really thought about not making the team yet (Vinny laughs).

Question No. 8. Do you see much of Ian and how is he doing that you can tell?

Vinny’s Answer: From what I can tell, Ian has been doing a great job. He looks good and looks like he is picking things up well. Ian has always been a good football player and he still is!

Vinny thank you very much for your time—your many fans in Boise and around the world look forward to seeing you in Purple (not bruised) this NFL season.

End of interview!

It will be a tremendous joy watching Vincent Perretta gain knowledge from Coach Stewart, as well the many very talented receivers and pros at Minnesota. Viking fans and or Bronco/Perretta fans etc herein lies a perfect example of Vinny’s personable behavior and politics.

Vinny appears to always attempt to stay on the upward path—giving his 110 percent and not giving in to negativity of any sorts.

Vinny no doubt knows as an athlete, be it Idaho, Minnesota or his former high school in San Diego, Calif. that there will always be those who just dislike you, and for no other reason than ones school or team colors he or she represents.

Still, it is my belief that anybody given any small amount of time with the Perretta’s as a whole would truly grow to appreciate them.

As for Vinny and he alone—should he make the Vikings there is not much doubt that within a small window of time he will become a crowd favorite. Why? Simply because he goes all out for who he represents, be it his sports family, those close to him and those necessarily not such as the media, bloggers, etc. Thus when word comes regarding Vinny’s pro debut the Blue Revue will be on it—and that’s another story.

 

 

 

Article first published by Lace Banachek on 6/30/2009 at http://broncobluereview.blogspot.com/

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NFL’s Top 5 Questions Going Into Training Camp

Mini-camps have closed in the NFL and now we head into the worst four weeks in the NFL all year. These next four weeks are full of anticipation as the players take their break before the start of the grueling five-to-six months of NFL Football.

As it is every year, there are many questions for all franchises heading into this part of the year. It is very hard to single out just a few, but in this article, I will take a look at, what in my view, are the biggest problems teams will be facing.

Before we start, here are some questions that didin’t make the list.

  • How will Jay Cutler fair in Chicago?
  • How will the three first round picks at quarterbacks do in their first year?
  • How will Josh McDaniels do after the controversial off season? 

That’s enough with the questions that didn’t make the cut. So without further adieu, here are the Top Five questions going into training camp.

5. Will Julius Peppers be able to work out a long term deal with Carolina?

The Panthers were finally able to get Julius Peppers to sign his franchise tag contract, and he now says he is happy in Carolina and is looking forward to a long term deal with the franchise. This could be extremely important because it would be very costly to have to franchise tag him again next year. For Carolina it is the sooner the better.

 4.  How will Brett Favre’s re-unretirement unfold with the Vikings?

This year’s sequel to the Brett Favre saga has been less interesting than the box-office sensation that kept us hanging on the edge of our seats last year. With a predictable ending, many fans and viewers will be disappointed with this failed attempt at remaking what was once an amazing thing.

I project this to be rated 2 out of 5 stars by most critics.

 3. What will happen with Brandon Marshall and the Broncos?

“You’re not getting traded! Get your [butt] in training camp and we’ll give you the big money next year!” -Josh McDaniels (Late July, 2009)

This conversation needs to happen in order for Josh McDaniels to gain control of his team. I’m interested in seeing this one play out.

 2. Will Plaxico Burress be suspended? If not, who will he play for?

At this point in time, I feel that Plaxico Burress will not be suspended.

Comissioner Roger Goodell would have done it by now if he was going to do that. That being said, I think that as soon as Goodell says he will not be suspended, teams will forget that they ever said they weren’t interested. I think he will most likely end up in Chicago, Tampa Bay, or Baltimore.

1. Will Michael Vick be reinstated? If so, who will want him?

Michael Vick did a bad thing, and did his time for it. He deserves a second chance and I believe he will be given one. The problem is, who is interested?

With such a troubled past, teams may be afraid to sign the once star quarterback. If he can’t make it into the NFL, he will have to try to make it in the UFL, which is begining its inaugueral season in October.

There it is. Not much surprising but that’s my take. If you disagree, comment or write a whole other article on your opinion. Looking forward to you opinion.

Note to the Editor: I made my article this way because that’s how I wanted it. Please do not edit format.

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Don’t Look Now: Adrian Peterson May Be Running on Borrowed Time

It’s no secret that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the best young back in the NFL today. 

Having exploded onto the scene with 1,341 rushing yards as a rookie and breaking the single game rushing record with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers, Peterson only improved in 2008. Last season he ran for an astounding 1,760 yards, recording the best season by a Viking runner in the franchise’s history.

However, as widely known as Peterson’s dominance is, the short shelf life for an NFL halfback also recognized. In fact, the minor decline of 30 year-old LaDainian Tomlinson garnered Peterson the title as the NFL’s top runner today.

A comparison to LaDainian Tomlinson is no doubt an honor in a number of ways. But when it’s said and done, there are a few names that I’m sure Peterson—along with LT—would not like to mentioned in the same sentence with when it comes to winning. Those are the names of Hall-of-Fame caliber players Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin. 

What do they all share in common? A career’s worth of ball-carrying brilliance, and an empty ring finger to show for it. 

Peterson is far from the same type of back as Barry Sanders was, but when examining farther, there are a number of similarities between the two. Like Sanders, Peterson was drafted into the NFC North to a franchise that is far from a championship organization with hopes to change that.

At first glance, it seemed as if both were capable. In 1989, Sanders rushed for 1,470 yards as a rookie and found the end zone 14 times. Peterson scored two fewer times on the ground with 12 TDs.

Although Sanders’ outstanding rookie campaign was not enough to propel the Lions to the playoffs—they finished 7-9—it looked like the franchise had a star destined to launch them to the next level.

However, 10 years and 15,269 yards later, Sanders was yet to taste an NFL championship.

Many feel the lack of fielding a competitive team in Detroit was the reason Sanders retired early. Sanders’ desire for a Super Bowl was more prominent than his desire to rewrite the NFL record books.

Now, on the brink of his third NFL season, Adrian Peterson takes the back seat to an even bigger name that is dominating the Minnesota headlines: Brett Favre.

Peterson admits that he would love to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback.

“If he is a part of our team when the season comes around, we’re going to welcome him with open arms and see where the chips fall.”

Peterson also isn’t hesitant to place his trust in Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress.

“I know our coach is going to do his job, and at the end of the day, his job is having the best team possible to win games,” Peterson explained. 

“That’s his job, so I’m going to let him handle his job and I’m going to do my job.”

Now I pose the question: has Adrian Peterson misplaced his trust? Are the Vikings best suited going after an ancient Brett Favre, who is a shadow of what he once was? And is Brett Favre even enough to propel the Vikings to a championship caliber team?

Peterson was blessed  to already compete in the NFL Playoffs.

However, he has also been handed the ball by four different starting quarterbacks. 

Bring someone else to mind? That’s right, as great as Barry Sanders was for such a long period of time, the Lions fielded 10 different starting quarterbacks during that time. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Vikings have no shot. I have more faith in their organization than I do the Lions.

However, if persuading Favre to come out of retirement with an injured throwing shoulder and hoping he can work his magic once more is their best attempt at getting Peterson to the big dance, then it’s time to get serious.

If they fail to do so, they may find Adrian over the proverbial hill at 30-years-old with more miles on him than even the most durable of stallions can bare.

And like legendary Barry Sanders…nothing to show for it.

 

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Adrian Peterson and the Quest for 2,000 Yards

Last year around this time, Adrian Peterson set a goal for 2,000 yards rushing in a single season. He fell short of that mark by about 240 yards by gaining 1,760 on the ground.

He had it easy last season facing the 32nd ranked defense of the Detroit Lions and the 26th ranked Green Bay Packers twice. Both teams have upgraded their defense and it’s unlikely either will finish in the same spot again.

The Bears on the other hand ranked fifth in rush defense last season and Peterson played them twice, rushing for 252 yards.

Overall in 2008, rushing defenses that Peterson faced ranked an average of 19th.

In 2009, Peterson will face rushing defenses that finished an average of 18th in 2008.

This season, he faces stiffer competition.

In back-to-back weeks, Peterson will have to rush against the Baltimore Ravens at home before heading on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens finished 2008 ranked third in rushing defense while the Steelers ranked second.

Peterson didn’t have the opportunity to face a traditional 3-4 defense last season. The last time he did so was against the San Francisco 49ers who held Peterson to just three yards on 14 carries.

Sadly though, that was after he was coming back from a two-week break after suffering a blow to the knee by Al Harris of the Green Bay Packers.

The 2009 season brings plenty of 3-4 defenses, though. With the Packers switching to a 3-4 defense, the Vikings will play six games against a 3-4. Those games include the Packers twice, Ravens, Steelers, Browns, and 49ers.

So, will Peterson be able to play well against the 3-4? Only time will tell.

His hardest obstacle will come against the Steelers who haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since November 18, 2007 when Thomas Jones rushed for 117 yards. The problem for the Steelers is they haven’t faced an Adrian Peterson before.

Peterson saw a bunch of eight and nine-man fronts. With a new quarterback on his way, that’s all about to change.

The likely addition of Brett Favre will open the field for Peterson to run wild. He has destroyed six and seven-man fronts and he will see many more in 2009.

Say what you want about Brett Favre. Defensive Coordinators won’t be putting eight men in the box nearly as often with a Hall of Famer at the helm.

The NFL has only had a handful of 2,000 yard rushers: O.J Simpson (2,003), Terrell Davis (2,008), Barry Sanders (2,053), Jamal Lewis (2,066), and Eric Dickerson (2,105).

Can Peterson become the next?

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Brett Favre Is Waiting for the Right Time to Announce His Comeback

It seems that right now, the question regarding Brett Favre playing in 2009 is no longer if, but when? Favre has had surgery to help heal his torn bicep in his right arm, which is usually a four- to six-week recovery process. 

With all of the attention and spotlight being put on Favre this offseason, as long as his right arm is okay, he’s coming back.

Now that OTAs are over, the NFL season is in a standstill period. Training camp starts in less than a month, and a Brett Favre announcement must be inching closer. The Vikings have openly admitted the interest they have for Favre, and Favre has done the same.

After how everything ended last season with the NY Jets, Favre still believes he can still play the game of football at a high level. There’s no reason he should think otherwise—just look at his numbers before he was injured.

He turned a mediocre Jets team that was a pretender into a contender.

With every team positioning itself for the start of the season in mid-September, Favre is going to have to make an announcement sooner or later. The Vikings have a solid team already, and if they add a Hall of Fame quarterback like Favre, they become the instant favorite in the NFC North.

When you look at the rest of this division, there are a lot of interesting stories. The Lions have the No. 1 draft pick in Matthew Stafford. The Bears have a new QB in Jay Cutler. The Packers addressed many of their defensive needs over the offseason. 

Finally, there are the Vikings, who have just been sitting back.

If Favre joined his old NFC North rival and put on the purple jersey against his old team that he spent so many years with, the media coverage would be out of control—not to mention that both games against the Packers will have significant meaning toward the records and making the playoffs.

Favre has waffled on decisions in the past, and that’s the reason why Ted Thompson decided to stick it to him and give the control to Aaron Rodgers.

There comes a point in time when things need to be changed. 

Favre had a tremendous run in Green Bay, but it was time for him to go; now, a year later, he could be coming back for revenge.

Favre will make the decision based on how he feels, both physically and mentally. He knows how grueling the NFL season can be and what each day requires as far as hard work and effort is concerned. 

If he goes to Minnesota, he’s going for the right reason—and that’s to win a Super Bowl.

I would be quite surprised if Favre publicly came out and said he was going to stay retired. He’s taking a lot of risks if he decides to sign with the Vikings. None of this would be possible if the Jets didn’t release him from their reserved list. 

As far as the league and anybody else should be concerned, right now, he’s retired.

There are so many intangibles and questions surrounding Brett Favre. His can-do attitude is what has made him the type of quarterback he is. He’s felt both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Favre will turn 40 in October, but that hasn’t stopped him from believing he still has the tools to win in the NFL. If he did come out of retirement, he would be entering his 19th season as a quarterback in the NFL. 

There are very few QBs who can stand up and say they played the game as long and as well as Brett Favre did.

He’s the ultimate iron man who has played through injuries time after time. Why should he think that he can’t play anymore after all of the statistical records he’s broken?

Favre’s just waiting for the right moment to announce he will be part of the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. As long as his right bicep tendon heals properly and he can make all the throws in his arsenal, he could have opposing defenses scrambling for new game plans when they face an already potent Vikings offense. 

There are a lot of unanswered questions out there, but with time, this story will be complete.

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Talking Brett Favre on Sports Overnight America

Last night, I joined Pat Mauro of Sports Overnight America in the wee hours of the morning to discuss Brett Favre, the Vikings, and the Timberwolves.

In case you missed it—or if 12:40 CDT was past your bedtime—the text of our conversation is below, with a little bit of my excess verbiage trimmed for the sake of brevity.

The Favre and Vikings chatter is covered here. You can read the T’Wolves talk here.

Special thanks to Pat—who was a terrific host—for having me on board.

 

Pat Mauro: Is Brett Favre going to be a Viking? It almost seems like every fan, everyone involved with the Vikings—unless your name is Sage Rosenfels—would like the sound of Brett Favre as quarterback of this team. Am I out there in saying that?

 

Marino Eccher: No, I think you’re pretty on-the-ball there, Pat. First of all, to answer your question, I do think barring a major setback with that arm, you are going to see Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform come training camp time.

And for the most part, I think the team is going to feel pretty good about that. Now obviously, that depends on which Brett Favre you’re getting.

If you get the guy who, through the first 11 games of last year, threw those 22 touchdowns, 13 picks, completed about 70 percent of his passes, well, it’s all good and gravy.

If you get the guy, who went 1-4 to close out the season, couldn’t make a throw to save his life, and ended up needing bicep surgery for a torn tendon, you’re going to have some problems with that.

 

PM: Thomas Jones said, “Hey, we lost because of Brett Favre,” and he ended up eating his words, because of that. He chose not to pursue that a little bit farther.

But the Jets were in pretty good position to go to the playoffs, and if you look at everything that happened those last four or five games, Brett Favre was basically the reason they didn’t go to the playoffs.

 

ME: I think it’s kind of a double-edged sword, because you look at the first two-thirds of the season, and it was Favre this, Favre that, the Favre experiment’s working, the team is 8-3. People are talking about, “Are the Jets gonna get a first-round bye?” People are mentioning the Jets as a Super Bowl contender.

But Favre fell off the wagon in a huge way in that last third of the season, completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes, two touchdowns, nine interceptions…he was really struggling to make throws that throughout his career had just been second nature to him.

Now, if he comes to the Vikings, you’re probably going to get that same kind of up-and-down feeling. Whether it’s deserved or not, at the end of this season, if you have Brett Favre quarterbacking the whole way, you’re going to say either it was Brett Favre who got them to the top of the mountain, or Brett Favre that could not do it.

 

PM: With the Jets, they wound up getting rid of Chad Pennington, who went to Miami and wound up having a really good year for them and appears to be their guy. In Minnesota, it was Gus Frerotte last year, it was Jackson, they ended up adding Rosenfels.

It’s almost like, even Brett Favre—and we don’t know what’s up with the shoulder, we don’t know if it’s 100 percent—but it’s almost like, “Brett Favre’s better than all those guys,” isn’t he?

 

ME: Absolutely…if Brett Favre is anything close to, not even his three-time MVP status, but if he’s anything close to what he was at the beginning of last year, or what he was in 2007 in Green Bay, he’s a tremendous upgrade over Rosenfels, he’s a tremendous upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson.

In regards to Rosenfels, you’re talking about a 31-year-old career backup, a guy who has been distinctly average over his NFL career. He’s a fine second option, he’s a fine veteran presence if you’re trying to push a young quarterback.

But he’s not a long-term solution, he doesn’t have a lot of star power, and he does not have a tremendous track record of success.

When you talk about Tarvaris Jackson, you talk about a guy, who, last season, he threw nine touchdowns, two interceptions, you look at that and say, “Hey, maybe he’s coming along a little bit.”

….Jackson is a guy who only threw for about 117 yards a game last season. What that tells you is the Vikings were not comfortable putting the ball in his hands.

It tells you that they did not think he was the guy who could win games…In that playoff game against the Eagles, Jackson did not look good.

So if you’re got Favre anything close to healthy, if you’ve got an arm that’s anything close to working, you certainly have to look at him as a dramatic upgrade over the position as it stands right now.

 

PM: If he’s healthy, you figure that the majority of the time, he says, “Hike,” and gives the ball to Adrian Peterson. Adrian Peterson’s going to be carrying the load, and that takes a lot of pressure off whoever the quarterback is.

…We know Brett Favre’s getting older, it’s not the Brett Favre of a few years back, but if it’s just the Brett Favre of the first 11 or 12 games with the Jets last year, this is a better Vikings team than they were last year.

 

ME: And I think that’s going to be be the case. Now, what you have to wonder about a little bit is putting Favre in that situation and saying, “OK, you’re the second fiddle on this offense to a feature back.”

Because really, throughout Favre’s career, that’s not really happened. He has always been the focal point of the offense, and he’s never lined up in front of somebody who’s a bigger name than he is.

In Green Bay, Ahman Green had a couple of good years. Favre’s last year there, Ryan Grant kind of came on late. But he’s never shared the backfield with a star running back.

It’s going to be interesting to see, if he ends up in Minnesota, if he’s comfortable in a system where he’s not asked to carry the load, where he’s not asked to win the game by himself, where he’s just asked to kind of get out of the way and make the throws when he needs to make ‘em. It’s going to be interesting to see if that famous Favre ego can handle that.

 

PM: Do you get the feeling that if this doesn’t happen—and I think we all get the feeling it is going to happen—but if it doesn’t happen, the Minnesota faithful are going to be greatly disappointed?

ME: Well, I think at this point, there will certainly be a letdown, because over the last couple weeks, month or so, it’s been kind of an open secret that if everything is alright medically, Favre is gonna end up with the Vikings.

Over the last week, you’ve seen reports pop up from a couple of different sources, you’ve seen reports pop up from Minnesota’s KFAN that there is a contract in place, and that it’s all but a done deal.

So now that it’s come this far, I think that yeah, if Favre doesn’t end up being the guy, Vikings fans are gonna come down off that high a little bit, because they’re not sold on Tarvaris Jackson, and I don’t think they’re convinced that Sage Rosenfels is anything special.

 

PM: Rosenfels put up some pretty good numbers with the Texans, but how much of this with the Vikings organization is about, “Hey, Brett Favre gives up the best chance of winning,” versus, “Brett Favre’s gonna put a lot of seats in the stands.”

 

ME: …I don’t think there’s any question in their minds that Favre gives them the best chance of winning.

I think there is something intoxicating about the idea of bringing him on board. I think it creates a buzz. I don’t know that the Vikings have a whole lot of trouble putting butts in the seats, so to speak…but I think there’s something about Brett Favre that makes both the organization and fans stop and say, “Wow, that would really be something special to have going on this year.”

 

PM: Do you ever wish as a Vikings fan that they played in an outdoor stadium?

 

ME: You know, I don’t. I’ve spent a little too much time in the winter in Minnesota to wish that rationally, and when Zygi Wilf came out a couple years ago and said, “Let’s get an outdoor stadium,” I said, “Great, I’m gonna get a plasma; I will be very comfortable at home if that’s the case.”

And I think Brett Favre would not be thinking about this as seriously as he is if the Vikings played outdoors, because over the last couple years, we’ve seen that that reputation of his as an outdoor quarterback, as a guy who just loves to mix it up in the elements, is not what it used to be.

He did not look comfortable—even dating back to that last playoff game in Green Bay in 2007, he had a couple of bad games last year outdoors, so I think playing indoors this year can only be good for Brett Favre at this point.

 

PM: You know, we all love Brett Favre, Brett Favre’s a great ambassador for football, as long as Brett Favre continues to play, I’ll be a fan of his, but do you ever get the impression that Brett Favre is a little bit overrated?

You talk about the playoff game a couple years ago, throwing the pick against the Giants. He’s thrown a lot of crucial picks in the playoffs. I know he’s done a lot of great things, there’s no question, he’s obviously a Hall of Famer, but do you think because we all like Brett Favre so much, that when you get right down to it, he’s a little overrated?

 

ME: …I don’t think there’s any question that this point that with all the love that’s been heaped on Favre throughout the years, that he is kind of riding a little bit on those ’95, ’96, ’97, really magical seasons…and on the “good old boy” stuff—everybody likes his, “Aw, shucks,” and “He’s a gamer,” “He loves to play the game,” and I think he’s earned that.

I think he certainly has a little bit of an overrated stature at this point. Now, it’s hard to say, because I think that’s kind of a common sentiment, so it’s hard to say when a guy goes from being overrated to being underrated simply because of that backlash.

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Main Players In The Favre Saga Operate Under Selfish Motivations

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The Minnesota Vikings have toyed with my emotions for a couple of decades now.  Heart-breaking losses and fan girl scream inducing wins encompass the roller coaster ride I signed up for when I pledged my allegiance to the purple and gold.  The latest episode of As the Aging Quarterback Retires, er Un-retires, is no different.

I overheard some guys on the ‘L’ talking about the Favre situation.  One of the men said Brad Childress is “fearless” for putting his faith in Brett Favre to resurrect Minnesota’s passing game.  At that moment I felt like tapping him on the shoulder to correct him.  “Excuse me, sir.  I believe the word you were looking for was idiotic.  Childress is idiotic for thinking Favre is the solution to his problems.”

Unfortunately, Childress, aka Clueless, has failed to live up to the offensive guru status that was touted three years ago.   And now he’s hell bent on signing Favre in an attempt to salvage anything that might be left of his reputation. 

I haven’t decided who I blame more for Favregeddon.  Childress has his future to think about.  If he has any shot of securing another job after Zygi throws him to the curb, he needs to show that he is capable of constructing a passing game that doesn’t resemble a schizophrenic throwing downfield to a wide receiver that only he can see. 

Favre has his ego to worry about. This is just another act in the long line of Oscar-worthy displays he’s given in the past. Obviously the guy has a few more weepy-eyed performances to give for the camera and his legion of minions at ESPN. Not to mention the temper tantrums for non-existent penalties to throw for the refs. 

 

Is Favre really going to be satisfied after one or two years in Minnesota?  At some point he needs to take a step back to reflect on his past accomplishments, and then accept that maybe it is over.

 

The media has played its own part in stirring the frenzy.  Camping out at Winter Park and the airport in Hattiesburg, Miss. are not the actions of a rational person.  Reporters are jumping at the latest gossip from the mysterious “source” feeding the latest contract status and home purchase all in an effort to boost ratings.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the “source” turns out to be Favre himself, afraid that the spotlight will move onto someone else if he doesn’t fuel the fire.

 

The Vikings’ roster is filled with Super Bowl caliber talent, and yet they never look as good as they do on paper.  The defense and running game have the ability to dominate every opponent, while the offensive line always looks like it could use a little extra practice. 

The quarterback is obviously the main obstacle in the Vikings’ path past the first round of the playoffs.  But I’d rather see them focus on re-signing Antoine Winfield and bringing in players that will still have an impact a few years down the road.  That is if any player other than TO is willing to play in the circus-like atmosphere that’s been created. 

Will adding a 39-year-old quarterback who is past his prime take the team to the next level?  I’m not convinced that Favre is even a short-term solution to their quarterback problem.

Despite the vomit-inducing effect Favre’s face has on my body, I won’t hold it against the rest of the team.  I still plan on being seated (or more likely standing) in section 117 at every game.  I’ll cheer when they do something semi competent, boo when Favre does anything, and cry when they crush my soul by losing a game they entered as 28-point favorites. 

I’m not as pessimistic as my mother likes to think.  To prove it, I now live my life by a new motto that I heard:  May your troubles last as long as Brett Favre’s retirements.

 

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