God bless the Internet!
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:
ESPN’s interviewing a teenager who catches for Brett Favre, supposedly because of the kid’s keen insight into Favre’s throwing mechanics. Seriously.
University of Minnesota sports management professor Stephen Ross examines the impact of Brett Favre potentially gearing up in a purple jersey and playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Ross explains who will have the most positive outcome if Favre was to join the Vikes and what the opinion of the fans might be.
You thought this was over? Silly person.
While the Rick Schwartz‘s Yahoo Sports report that Favre had decided to remain retired was widely reported, given Brett Favre‘s history, many were skeptical. It’s a wonder the Yahoo Sports report wasn’t dismissed outright with a chuckle and a dismissive plllllleeeeeze.
Unsurprisingly, Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver comes to colleague Rick Schwartz‘s defense by painting Favre as unpredictable. Well, that’s low-hanging fruit. But it’s wrong. At this point, Favre’s media manipulations are entirely predictable.
ESPN countered with the Favre Xrays being sent to Vikings headquarters at Winter Park:
And, thus, the Brett Favre saga was set in motion once again. But former Strib and current ESPN.com writer Kevin Seifert is throwing up his hands over the story:
This story has spun totally out of control, and I’m not sure if I can make reasonable sense out of it anymore. Schaap’s report suggests Favre’s medical records were sent to the Vikings ON THE SAME DAY that a Yahoo! Sports story reported that Favre told coach Brad Childress he doesn’t want to play in 2009.
The NFL Network’s Total Access claims, defensively, “We really have no choice but to bring you the back and forth developments.”
Meanwhile, there’s unrest among the Minnesota media.
At the Star Tribune, columnist Patrick Reusse devotes column space to the obvious: Brett Favre is manipulating the media to shine the spotlight on himself. Fellow columnist Sid Hartman goes into full We Don’t Need ‘Em mode by focusing on Sage Rosenfels. And beat writer Judd Zulgad, in order to pressure the team to issue some definitive statements, unleashes the fans on the Vikings by opening up blog comments on the topic.
On the other side of the river, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers rails against the tight-lipped Vikings, fellow columnist Charley Walters says the Vikes look bad in this Favre saga, and beat writer Rick Alonzo filed the It Ain’t Over Yet story with a quote from Vikings Middle Linebacker E.J. Henderson:
“I think it’s good to have that resolution so we can just move on and focus on us, and focus on getting ready for the season without all these outside distractions,” said linebacker E.J. Henderson after the Yahoo! Sports report. “I definitely think it’s good to have a resolution, if there is one. But who knows what the personnel guys, and the guys we’ve got upstairs, what they’re going to end up doing?”
WCCO TV’s Mike Max says things are still hot and heavy between Favre and the Vikings.
I’ve collected a handful of videos of YouTubers responding to the Brett Favre to the Vikings story at my Videolicious.tv daily video blog.
ESPN has camped out at Winter Park, so Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings appears to be the story of the NFL offseason.
ESPN’s John Clayton addresses some of the issues were Favre to wear purple this season, Gene Wojciechowski is all for Farve playing in Minnesota, while former Strib beat writer Kevin Seifert points to what the story says about the Vikings’ current quarterback situation:
More than anything, this facet of the story illustrates how far down the plank the Vikings have already walked. We’re in the second week of May, and they are shopping for a new starting quarterback. The simple act of setting up a meeting with Favre sends a mixed message, at best, to the two quarterbacks they had planned to pit in a training camp competition. Simply by virtue of Tuesday’s story, Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels already know they’re on the brink of being pushed aside — at least for one year.
From this vantage point, it seems the Vikings have boxed themselves into a situation that mandates an agreement with Favre. They’re in no position to make demands, including offseason attendance. If Favre walks away, or if the Vikings move on because he won’t accede to their requests, Childress would be left with the unenviable task of rebuilding the trust of his remaining quarterbacks.
Jared Allen pipes in and likes the idea of Favre in the locker room:
NFL.com columnist Vic Carucci discusses what the move would mean to the the Vikings/Packers rivalry, NFL Total Access did a segment on the risk versus the reward of landing Favre, and Steve Mariucci gives his take.
Sports Illustrated‘s Don Banks is sick of it:
It’s beyond tiresome by now. Let’s face it, it’s sad and kind of pathetic that we’re once again being sucked into another Brett Favre watch. What are we up to now, four, five summers in a row with the same basic storyline: Will he play or won’t he? The indecision of the man has become as legendary as his football feats, and infinitely less entertaining.
Closer to home, Strib beat writers Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins quote a very excited Bernard Berrian:
â€œI try not to get too caught up in it because I donâ€™t want to get too overexcited, thinking that heâ€™s coming and then all of a sudden he doesnâ€™t,â€ Berrian said. â€œHe would be a great addition to the team. Heâ€™s a great player. Heâ€™s done so much for the NFL by himself. He definitely would bring leadership to the team.
â€œHeâ€™s been in the league for 17, 18 years and to have a player of his caliber come in, it speaks volumes for what he can do for this team.â€
PiPressers Rick Alonzo and Sean Jensen get Rich Gannon and Pete Bercich‘s take:
“From an X’s and O’s standpoint, it would be perfect,” said Bercich, an analyst for KFAN-AM and a former Vikings assistant coach. “They’ve talked about how, in New York, they used him a lot. They might have overused him, maybe. I guarantee you Childress is either going to show him the film or talk to him about how with (Peterson) standing behind him, he’s going to get a lot of one-on-one coverage. He’s one of the best play-action passers there ever was.”
“It’s the same verbiage, same terminology,” Gannon said of the Vikings’ offense and the Packers’ system. “The comfort level is so important for a quarterback like that. What they did last year, in New York, they bastardized the system. They made all kinds of changes and tweaks. Everyone had to learn different stuff, because of Brett. He’d audible, and he’d be referring to the old terminology.
“Stepping into this system, with the great running game, and the solid defense… just manage the game, and take care of the football, there’s no reason he can’t win 11 or 12 games.”
WCCO TV’s Esme Murphy covers the chatter, online and off, about the Favre story while Jason DeRusha reports on the financial impact Favre’s purpleness would mean to the team.
The Brett Favre annual offseason drama continues with ESPN.com’s report yesterday that Brad Childress will meet with the 39-year-old quarterback with a torn biceps tendon and questionable motivations to discuss his future as a Viking.
The Strib confirmed the ESPN story last night. Star Tribune reporters Chris Miller and Judd Zulgad discuss the topic in a Web video but, stupidly, the paper doesn’t allow you to either embed the video or link directly to it, so if you want to watch it, go directly to the Strib’s Vikings section.
There are lots of good reasons for coaxing a future Hall of Fame quarterback out of retirement. As long the Vikings don’t think one of them is an aging Favre’s ability to propel his team to the Super Bowl, then, what the heck? Sign Favre, watch the fireworks, and understand that this January, Favre might wind up looking all too much like a cross between Brad Johnson and Tarvaris Jackson.
Favre is the supermodel who maxes out your credit cards. He is the sports car that wipes out your bank account. He is enticing, and he is captivating, and he is trouble.
But PiPress columnist Tom Powers says Childress needs to woo Favre because:
Even if you hate the idea of Favre joining the Vikings, think of the excitement it would create. This is exactly the type of kick-start the Vikings need in this tough economy. Interest will go off the charts.
But more important than any intangibles is the simple fact that he is a better quarterback than anyone the Vikings have on their roster. Favre is better than what they have, he won’t cost any players or draft choices in return, and they have the money to pay him. Signing him should be a no-brainer.
Fellow Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere confidently predicts Favre will sign with the Vikings:
And, to round out the Favre coverage, PiPresser Charlie Waters envisions a bundle that includes both Favre and former Packers teammate, right tackle Mark Tauscher.