I have to admit I was amped up to watch Brett Favre‘s debut as a Viking, if for no other reason than the strange spectacle of seeing him in purple.
The debut itself turned out to be anticlimactic if not predictable. Expected to play just one series, Favre returned for another after his first was cut short by Naufahu Tahi‘s missed block (one of three for the night). The offense played like one that had had only a few days of practice with a new quarterback. It will take more than a few days for receivers and quarterback to adjust to one another.
What Favre did show has got to be encouraging for Vikings fans.
You wouldn’t know that from reading an AP piece published shortly after the game, though. That piece placed the blame for the lack of offensive production squarely on Favre’s shoulders, saying he missed on all but one pass and even the completion was barely catchable:
His first pass was off target, intended for fullback Naufahu Tahi. Rookie Percy Harvin snagged a low throw into tight coverage on the next play, setting up fourth-and-1 near midfield. But Adrian Peterson, who carried 10 times for 44 yards, was smothered in the backfield for a big loss.
Favre was off the mark twice more on the next possession, misfiring toward Jaymar Johnson after an apparent route miscommunication and then chucking one out of everyoneâ€™s reach on the pressure by May
Well, that’s the easy story to write; the one you can file in time for your post-game deadline. But it was hardly accurate.
The pass to Tahi was thrown to the opposite side of the defender, to an open space where had Tahi adjusted, he could’ve caught the ball. The completion to Harvin was thrown in tight between two defenders; throwing the ball low greatly reduces the odds of it being picked off, it’s harder for the defenders to get to and if the ball is tipped by the receiver or defender, it is much more likely to hit the ground than to pop up in the air where it can be easily intercepted. The pass to Johnson was similar to the one to Tahi, away from the defender but catchable if the receiver adjusts. The only pass that was possibly errant was the last one when Favre was hurred by a linebacker blitz; even that one was thrown to an empty space in the field where it wouldn’t be picked off.
This type of sports “reporting” drives me nuts. It reveals one of two things: 1) Laziness or 2) a failure of understanding of the game.
Anyway, Vikings fans should be encouraged that they now have not just a veteran, but a Hall of Fame-quality quarterback who knows exactly what to do with the ball.
We should also be encouraged by the play of Tavaris Jackson. After a familiar shaky start, Jackson directed two impressive scoring drives that had offense running on all cylinders. But then that’s been his thing; shaky…impressive, shaky…impressive. Jackson needs to show consistently sound decision making before he’ll inspire enough confidence from coaches, let alone Vikings fans…and throwing the ball from five yards beyond the line of scrimmage doesn’t cut it.
Rookie reciever Percy Harvin proved he can catch the ball, a receivers’ skill Vikings fans are a bit insecure about since the Troy Williamson fiasco.
Thankfully for the audience, the game turned into an exciting one after the disappointment of the opening two series.
I’ll leave you with a Brad Childress dream, as mashed up by nadasfan: