Which QB do you prefer starting in the Twin Cities?
Look, I’ll be upfront in saying (and most of you know this by now) I am not, and never have been, Brett Favre’s biggest fan.
So, if you are someone that thinks Brett Favre is incapable of throwing a bad pass, and that his receivers simply need to do a better job of always being where the ball is landing, then this article isn’t for you.
If you are someone that thinks Brett Favre’s fumbles were somehow the result of Ryan Cook being too tall or having bad timing, or that the pink Breast Cancer ribbon on the ball was too slippery, then this article isn’t for you.
If you are someone that thinks Brett Favre is incapable of making a series of mistakes that may or may not be taking a toll on his family life and may or may not be distracting him from performing on the field, then this article is not for you.
If you simply think Brett Favre’s infallible status ranks right up there with the Pope’s, and can’t understand that this article is clearly labeled as “opinion,” then this article is NOT for you.
With that out of the way, let’s get on with it.
Let me start by saying that I do not think Brett Favre should be benched if, by Sunday, every single one of the following items is true:
- His tendinitis is healed to the point that he can make all the throws asked of him.
- The #3 wide receiver spot is settled on.
- The “racy photos” fiasco is resolved and no longer a distraction.
- Favre practices with one, and only one, center all week and that center starts the Dallas game and will be allowed to finish it.
- The game plan going into Dallas will be to give the ball to Adrian Peterson a minimum of 25 times.
If the Vikings return to practice and all five of those things are not true, then I firmly believe that the Vikings defense, Adrian Peterson, and all the purple fans out there deserve to see Tarvaris Jackson (gulp) get the start.
I wanted to write this article immediately following Monday’s game, but I decided to sleep on it and hopefully my following points are reasonable enough to at least be readable for you all. The following are my reasons the Vikings should go with Tarvaris Jackson over Brett Favre:
Let’s face it, the number one reason a coach should consider benching a player is because of poor performance, and Brett Favre fits the bill right now.
When it comes to quarterback ratings, Favre currently ranks 30th in the league despite being surrounded by arguably the most elite playmakers of any NFL offense. He currently has a worse quarterback rating than the likes of Bruce Gradkowski, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel, Jason Campbell, Shaun Hill, Kevin Kolb, Josh Freeman, Chad Henne, Seneca Wallace, David Garrard, and Ryan Fitzpatrick to name a few. His 56.5% completion percentage combined with seven interceptions help make up his miserable rating of 67.0.
Despite throwing three touchdowns against the Jets, Favre seems to have regressed since week one, as he is now flat out missing wide open receivers. The whole “receivers can’t get open” excuse is no longer, well, a good excuse.
Poor performance is a legitimate reason to bench a player.
Brett Favre made a theatrical show of his ailing throwing arm all week during the practices and press conferences that led up to Monday Night’s loss. During the game itself, it was obvious that he wasn’t “crying wolf” and that the tendinitis in his arm was a legitimate problem.
Favre said after the game that his arm feels worse than it did before the bye week. Tendinitis can be nagging injury, and if it was at least partially responsible for his performance on Monday, then we can probably expect to see more of the same starting on Sunday against the Cowboys.
An injury is a legitimate reason to bench a player.
OFF THE FIELD CONCERNS
Brett Favre’s off the field problems, for which he is being investigated by the NFL, have been well documented all week. It all came to head on Monday when Favre addressed his teammates about the situation at the hotel, prior to the game.
Ryan Longwell told Michelle Tafoya (much to the dislike of Favre) that it was an emotional address, in which Favre both cried and apologized to his teammates for causing a distraction.
The team can say it hasn’t been a distraction all they want, but if it wasn’t one then why would an apology be necessary?
This saga isn’t over, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Favre has no interest in denying the allegations, and could in fact serve a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
If suspended, the Vikings could be forced to throw Tarvaris Jackson into the fire anyways. I would argue that the time to turn the key over to Jackson is now if the Vikings have any reason to believe that this will eventually be his team to lead in December and/or January anyways. Push the issue and put this offense on his back so that he can be prepared for it when this whole thing comes to an unfortunate end.
Plus, if Favre’s actions are true, then he doesn’t exactly seem to fit into the “culture of accountability” that Childress and owner Zygi Wilf have boasted about on such a regular basis.
Character concerns and off the field distractions are a legitimate reason to bench a player.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE
With the trade deadline approaching, the draft long gone, and the free agent market all dried up, it is clear that the offensive line is what is and that won’t be changing… for the better, anyways.
It is no secret that Brett Favre lacks mobility, which is a deadly combination when your team’s pass blocking is consistently inconsistent. As one reader pointed out during Monday’s game, it is easy to blitz when you know exactly where the quarterback will be on every play.
Sure, there will be times when the line plays better than they did against the Jets and sure the Jets defense deserves some credit, but Favre was doing a statue impression way too often on Monday. Having a quarterback with even a little more mobility might help make this offensive line look a little better and also might help cause defenses to think twice before sending the blitz.
Lacking a key athletic attribute is a legitimate reason to bench a player.
AT THIS POINT, WHY NOT?
In the end, I would be as unconvinced as everyone else that Tarvaris Jackson would be a surefire answer to the Vikings offensive woes. However, there is no denying that Brad Childress would have a bag full of legitimate reasons to bench Brett Favre and give his failed draft pick one last shot at redeeming himself.
Jackson has never been surrounded by the talent he would be surrounded by if he were to step into this role right now, and you never know, he might just do enough to help the Vikings win. Or at least help them to not lose, which is something Brett Favre is not doing.
After all, an ongoing record for consecutive starts is not a legitimate reason to keep playing a quarterback seemingly unable to pull himself out of a downward spiral.