|GOLDBERG ON FOOTBALL: Favre joins Jets|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 August 2008 10:05|
Trading for Brett Favre will get them more notice. It might even get them to the playoffs.
But it's NOT the way to build a team that will compete every year. The Jets may think the future is now, but what happens in 2009-10-11-12, even if they manage to make the postseason in this season?
Probably records closer to the 4-12 of 2007 than the 12-4 they'd like to reach.
In fact, the Jets should have paid more attention to the approach the Green Bay Packers took when Favre announced his retirement last spring.
Yes, the Packers likely will take a step backward this year with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. But if he makes the progress they expect, they have a young squad that could improve in the next few years.
Even if Rodgers doesn't make it, they drafted Brian Brohm to groom at quarterback. That's almost always the way to stay consistently good in the modern NFL: Build through the draft and either trade for a veteran or sign one to fill that last hole.
Maybe the Jets, 4-12 a year ago, think Favre is the last piece of that puzzle after an offseason in which they acquired Alan Faneca, Kris Jenkins, Damien Woody and others. Now Mike Tannebaum and Eric Mangini, the general manager and coach, presumably think Favre makes them a playoff team or better.
But they may be the only ones who celebrated, other than Jets fans. Some of those rooters showed up at the Mets' game at Shea Stadium on Thursday wearing improvised green-and-white jerseys with ``Favre'' and No. 4.
History says this won't work - just look at the operations of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has wasted millions of dollars and an untold number of draft choices on dubious ``name'' players who haven't produced.
If Favre plays as he did last season, when he took Green Bay into overtime of the NFC championship game, the Jets probably jump ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East and challenge for a wild-card spot. But unless a lot of bad things happen in New England, there's no way they catch the Patriots.
But that's also a big ``IF.''
In 2005 and 2006, playing with an inexperienced supporting cast, Favre had two of his worst seasons, not unusual for a quarterback well into his 30s. He had just 38 TD passes and 47 interceptions in those seasons and passer ratings of 70.9 and 72.7, the worst and third worst of his 16 seasons in Green Bay.
Now the 38-year Favre has four weeks - without the benefit of offseason workouts - to acclimate himself to an almost entirely new set of teammates.
He does know tight end Bubba Franks, with whom he spent nine seasons in Green Bay. But the oft-injured Franks, who had just 18 catches last season, is fighting for a roster spot behind Chris Baker and rookie Dustin Keller on the depth chart.
The other thing to remember is that Favre at his best is an improviser, as likely to roll right, scramble left, then shovel off an underhand pass to a receiver or tight end. His success last season came from playing with receivers who knew him, especially Donald Driver, but also young Greg Jennings, who had 12 TD catches last year.
The Jets' starting receivers are Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery.
It's possible that Favre and the 30-year-old Coles will have instant chemistry. It's just as likely that they will be on totally different wavelengths, and the never-shy Coles will immediately express his discontent in public.
Off last season's form, the Jets are not likely to start better than 1-2 - they open in Miami, but then play host to New England and go to San Diego. In the latter two games, it's unlikely that Favre will fare much better than the now-released Chad Pennington or Kellen Clemens would have.
Things get softer after that, soft enough that it's possible to picture a 9-7 or 10-6 run to a wild-card spot. Possible, not probable.
But what does that get them beyond a one-and-out in the playoffs?
And that's the point. Especially when you compare them to the teams they think are their competition - the Patriots and Giants.
Sure, they made a splash Thursday. Do the Giants care? Super Bowl rings are far more rewarding than tabloid headlines. The Patriots? Bill Belichick's response, whenever it comes, will be something like this: ``Brett Favre. Great player. Hall of Famer. Makes them tougher. Always a tough game when we play them. All games in the National Football League are tough.''
That doesn't mean that the Patriots' run of 10 wins in their last 11 games with the Jets will end.
That's really why the deal is all wrong for the Jets. As were all those offseason signings, because a marginal shot at a playoff berth isn't worth it for a rebuilding team.
Yes, New England gave up draft picks to obtain Randy Moss and Wes Welker last season to augment a team with title expectations. It got them the first 16-0 regular-season record ever before they fell victim to one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
Cleveland did the same thing this year, trading away two high draft picks to shore up the middle of their defensive line. It might not get the Browns a title this year, but they already have built a solid nucleus through the draft and have a solid future.
Assume Favre gets them to the playoffs this season. And assume that Clemens develops by sitting behind Favre and watching him.
They still will reach the 40th anniversary of their only Super Bowl victory without another title.
And without much hope of another in the foreseeable future.