August 07, 2008
Favre and the Gang Green
As the resident Jets fan of We Is ND, I suppose it falls on me to comment on the recent goings-on regarding the former King of the Cheeseheads. First and foremost, thank the Lord that our long national nightmare is over - no more breathless reports about Brett and his family, no more crap about the ongoing soap opera between Favre and the front office in Green Bay, and no more awkward interviews with Aaron Rodgers about the future of the Pack. Speaking as someone who considers himself only moderately interested in the NFL, the coverage this story had been getting was bordering on the ridiculous. The Jets should receive some sort of compensatory draft pick for putting us all out of our collective misery.
As far as the trade itself goes, the most important issue (as a Jets fan) is whether the draft has a positive effect on the Gang Green, both in the short term and the long term.
THE LONG TERM
1. As was widely reported, the draft pick going back to Green Bay is conditional, and based on Favre's performance, along with the team's final standing. ESPN showed a graphic today listing the Jets' 4th round picks in the last 5 years. I was surprised to see that almost every player represented on that list could be considered a serious contributor - Kerry Rhodes is a Pro Bowler and the team's best defensive player, Jerricho Cotchery is on the verge of taking over the #1 WR role, and Leon Washington is one of the best special teams players in the league and a great 3rd down/change of pace back. Even if the Jets miss the playoffs, and that pick remains in the 4th round, that's quite a price to pay down the road. The Jets do have several picks in the 4th round based upon this season's offseason moves which lessens the sting a bit.
2. The Jets have widely reported that Kellen Clemens is the QB of the future and the face of the franchise going forward. While I have a built-in wariness of Oregon QB's in general (here's looking at you Akili and Joey), the move to get Favre certainly does nothing to help Clemens' development or confidence. Of course he'll probably say all the right things about learning from a Hall of Famer, but up until about 2 weeks ago, he was a lock to be competing for the starting job out of camp, and would likely be playing, and playing quite a bit, this year. What does it say about Clemens that the front office is so willing to kick him aside? And perhaps more importantly, what does it say about the front office that they're so quick to jerk him around without a second thought?
THE SHORT TERM
1. Obviously the main motivating factor behind this move is the desire to win now. While the Jets did make a bevy of moves this offseason to address some of their largest deficiencies, the bottom line is that they can't win the division. Nobody is beating New England in the AFC East, and even Buffalo is starting to show some signs of friskiness. Already, off the bat, their best opportunity to get into the playoffs is through the Wild Card. Barring a smattering of injuries, one has to think that both Indy and Jacksonville will be playoff teams again, with one of those teams taking the 1st Wild Card. That leaves exactly one playoff slot open for the rest of the AFC. While no one else in the AFC looks particularly frightening, teams like Denver, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland and others look just as good, if not better, on paper than the Jets. Can't say I like those odds too much.
2. Perhaps more importantly, the talking heads seem to be forgetting that Favre is only one year removed from a run of very poor seasons. Until last year, he was on a very clear decline, both in his athletic skills and his decision-making. Plus, now he's forced to learn a whole new offense, with all new personnel, and sit through the tedious meetings and film sessions he seems to hate so much. Is he really going to put forth the effort required to get up to speed? Does he really have that much left in the tank? Color me extremely skeptical.
In the end, I just don't see how the move gets the Jets into the playoffs. Perhaps it gives them a better shot this year, but is it worth it in the long run? I don't think so.
But I must admit - I'll be tuning in to watch Fireman Ed and the boys cheer on the Gang Green a little more often than I did last year. I guess that counts for something.