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The Return of Favre

August 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well it is that time of year, a time when preseason is already under way, and training camp is about to breakup and when the Vikings go from pretenders to contenders overnight. For me the return of Brett Favre is a happy time, because while the news coverage rivals the O.J. Simpson chase, at least it will bring an end to players, pundits and fans trying to float the notion of him not returning. Unless Favre was physically unable to play the position (in which case it shouldn't have been all the negative hoopla), he was going to return and he was going to return now when training camp is breaking up.

Favre is too much of a competitor to have his career end so close to the Super Bowl, especially considering since most people wrongly try to blame Favre for the loss. That interception was ill timed, but wouldn't have mattered if the Vikings hadn't fumbled the ball so many times (fumbles that either cost them points or gave the Saints excellent field position). Not to mention the officiating at the end of that game was horrible and gifted the Saints that winning field goal attempt. Favre was not going to come that close to the Super Bowl, and walk away. It's not in his blood and it is not in the way he has played the game for 20 years now.

While it might be unlikely for Favre to duplicate his numbers from last season (which were unreal for a 40 year old), Favre can still throw the ball a little bit. He returns pretty much the same offense, though I really like rookie backup running back Toby Gerhart. I would not be shocked to see Gerhart have a big impact with this team, and give Adrian Peterson some relief. I'm sure Favre would have liked to see the Vikings improve along the offensive line, since he almost got killed back there last season. Other than that question mark Favre has the pieces to turn this offense into a championship caliber team. That along with the Vikings killer defense, and Minnesota has a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl in (likely) Favre's final season.

Brett Favre To Retire…Not So Fast

August 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

Yesterday, the world of sports was abuzz with the news that Brett Favre would not be back with the Vikings this season. Now if it is true, that is major news, as not only does it affect the Vikings season, but it promotes Packers to the top of the NFC North. Also it makes the road to the Super Bowl that much easier for New Orleans, Dallas and company. So while it could potentially be major news, right now it is an unconfirmed rumor. And on top of that, it is in regards to Brett Favre, the ultimate Flip-Flopper.

Now I'm all for reporting rumors and a little idle speculation, but this was ridiculous yesterday as it kept building up to the point where it seems like everyone in America believes Brett Favre is retired. I mean haven't we learned by now that we can't trust Favre when he says he is retired, so why are we going to trust unconfirmed text messages? I won't even begin to believe this story until the Vikings and/or Favre confirm it. And in all honesty I won't believe Favre is done playing until he is either over the age of 50, or someone passes a law saying he can't play football anymore. Until that time, I am going to believe in a possible comeback.

I'm sure there is a small fire that caused all this smoke, and I won't say for certain he will be back and leading the Vikings to the playoffs. I think that ankle is a major concern, as is the willingness to take another beating like the one he took last year. But Favre has that competitive fire that every player aspires to. I think he will try to test out the ankle over the next week or two, and if it checks out he will be back with the Vikings by the middle of the month. If Favre comes back, I think he will be as good as ever and Minnesota could be a Super Bowl team. If not, than it will be an unfortunate end to an illustrious career and the Vikings are hurting.

Assume Brett Favre Will Be Playing In 2010

June 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

By Fanspeak Contributing Writer Geoff Nelowet

It was funny seeing Sears commercials with Brett Favre wallowing in uncertainty over which television to purchase. Those commercials pointed to the outward indecisiveness Favre exhibited over the last few off seasons, but Sears, as they poke fun at Favre,got it all wrong. Favre has yet to be uncertain about anything. In fact, I would go as far as to say that recently Favre has known his decision on retiring months in advance. Here's why:

Professional football players don't like to go to training camp. Favre knows that he can stay “indecisive” until the middle of the preseason – just enough time for him to get back in gear without laboring through grueling summer two-a-days. Give him credit – he plays his cards right.

As for this coming season, there shouldn't be much doubt as to whether Favre is coming back simply because he is publicly considering it. But if that's not enough, consider these factors:

-He has said that he's in good shape and is capable of playing at a high level

-He has said that he would love to defeat the New Orleans Saints in week 1

-He just came off the best statistical year of his career

-He will be paid $13 million in 2010

-His teammates still somehow like him

It seems like a pretty clear decision for Favre that shouldn't take the average human months to deliberate over. Who knows, maybe this year he'll mix things up and show up before week 1 of the preseason. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: Favre will be playing football in 2010.

Quick Thoughts From Yesterday's Games:

January 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

Just How Good is Peyton Manning?:  When the Colts were down by 11, I think the Jets and their fans thought they could be Super Bowl bound, but they forgot about Manning. He absolutely went off on the number 1 ranked defense yesterday. And it didn't seem to bother him that Darrelle Revis took away half the field, because Manning dominated the other half. For all we hear about Manning's weapons of Wayne and Clark (a pair of former 1st round picks), it was Pierre Garcon (6th round 2008, Mount Union) and Austin Collie (4th round 2009, BYU) that dominated the Jets defense. It was just an all-around incredible performance by Manning yesterday, and showed why he is the best quarterback in the league.

Future Looking Brighter for Sanchez:  Mark Sanchez has had a tough rookie year and has been the weakest quarterback in the playoffs so far. He had shown flashes of being a good quarterback, but that was mostly against weaker competition and had also cost the Jets a few games this season. Of late though he'd been fairly mistake free, not because of major improvement in his game, but rather because of a much simpler passing attack. Sanchez was pretty much regulated to 'safe' intermediate and short throws so far in the playoffs. Yesterday though Sanchez had his best game of the playoffs (and his young career), he showed much better decision making and poise in the pocket. He didn't try to force the ball in to coverage, and really showed something against a big team in the biggest game of his career. Now Sanchez has some things to work on, accuracy being the primary concern, but in 2-3 years Sanchez could become a pretty good starting quarterback.

Saints Go Marching On:  Who would have thought it would have been the Saints defense and special teams that sent them to the Super Bowl? While their defense got torched with yards and penalties, they came up with enough big plays to win yesterday. And how huge was the Peterson fumble right before half after the Bush muffed punt? That Saints defense all season has just been relentless in getting takeaways, and showed it again last night. Gregg Williams and company deserve most of the credit for that victory, because Favre had a great game yesterday. Think of what he would have done if he actually had time in the pocket? The Saints pass rush completely dominated the Vikings offensive line and had Favre on the ground quite a bit. The Saints defense was the key to the game, and is why they will be making their first Super Bowl appearance.

Just How Tough is Brett Favre?:  Now I realize all the talk now is about that last interception, and on whether or not it was Favre's last game (again). But really we need to acknowledge that yesterday's loss was on two things:  the offensive line play, and lack of ball control. Not only did the Saints recover a fumble inside the Vikings 20 yard line, but Minnesota coughed it up twice when they were at the Saints 10 yard line! And the offensive line, which had begun to collapse at the end of the season, looked awful yesterday. They couldn't handle the stunts and blitz packages New Orleans was throwing at them, and Favre paid the price. Not only was he getting hit hard (and sometimes illegally), but he was injured and in obvious pain. Favre played well enough to win that game by a couple of touchdowns, but his 0-line and the fumbles cost them dearly.

The Favre Affect?

December 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

I know the media, fans, and bloggers like to jump on Brett Favre, and talk about how he can't finish a season anymore. Or the dissension he causes in the locker room is catching up with the team. But come on, let's be realistic! That is the least of the issues with this Vikings team. Yes he had a heated exchange his coach, but I don't think that's by any means out of line. This isn't what Anquan Boldin did last season to Todd Haley or what we've seen from other players in the past. This was a heated discussion because Favre didn't want to leave the game when his team could still win and because he was unhappy with the game plan. What is so wrong with that, he didn't throw a tantrum or cuss him out after the game to the media. He simply was unhappy with how the game was going (as was every Viking fan in the country I presume). I mean we have situations where Tom Brady calls out his teammates commitment and effort (after he has one of his worse games of the season), and that's barely mentioned in a negative light. Some bloggers and media members even credit him with 'inspiring' his team. We also have situations where Phillip Rivers is yelling and screaming at the refs about any call he doesn't agree with. Yet somehow, someway Brett Favre is the team cancer and the troublemaker in the NFL, disrespecting the game left and right.

What is a team cancer and troublemaker for the Vikings is the play of their offensive line (though Adrian Peterson's fumbling is a close second). This was supposed to be the best offensive line in football, but they have aged mighty quickly this season and of late have been one of the league's worst. Peterson hasn't averaged more than 4.0 yards a carry since week 10, and has only gotten higher than 4.o yards per carry six times this season (Browns, Lions twice, Rams, 49ers, and Ravens). Of those only three were 100+ yard days, Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit. The O-line has crumbled in pass protection giving up now 34 sacks on the season. Those 34 sacks tie them with the Eagles for 20th worst in the NFL, only the Eagles and Packers are playoff teams with equally or worse offensive lines (though the Steelers could still join that group). Favre and the Vikings have gotten this far without a consistent running game or a decent offensive line. Imagine what they could do if they actually start playing up to their potential once the postseason begins?

Game of the Week

October 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

While there may be a few fun storylines to watch this weekend; how the Giants rebound from their loss, can the Saints and Colts stay undefeated against weaker opponents, what coaches are coaching for their jobs, the biggest story is the Vikings-Steelers matchup. The undefeated Minnesota Vikings head to Pittsburgh to take on the defending champion Steelers.

This game is a great matchup as both teams are evenly matched. The Vikings on offense have the best running back in the league, a top notch offensive line, a number of offensive weapons, and Brett Favre. The Steelers feature one of the league's best defenses, that is extremely stingy against the run. Pittsburgh also faces a punishing pass rush that should give the Vikings o-line a number of problems. The biggest factor in the Steelers favor is the return of safety Troy Polumalu, who is one of the league's elite playmakers. So far no defense or secondary has been able to stop the Favre onslaught this year, but the Steelers are tougher than any defense they've faced all season. I think while the Steelers won't be able to fully shutdown the Vikings offense, I think their defense can slow them enough to put their offense in a position to win the game.

The Steelers offense so far this season has struggled to run the ball effectively, but has opened up their passing game to compensate. The Vikings have a stellar rush defense, but have been susceptible to big pass plays. While it looks like this matchup is in the Steelers favor, Minnesota does have one ace up their sleeve, Jared Allen. Allen has been a force at defensive end all season, getting pressure on the quarterback, forcing fumbles and getting big sacks. The Steelers biggest weakness is along their offensive line, which could be a field day for Allen and company. The good news for Pittsburgh is that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is best in the league in feeling pressure and escaping sacks. At the end of the day, I think the Steelers come out ahead at home, but to win their offense will need to find away to keep Brett Favre off the field in the 4th quarter to take away any last second heroics. Steelers win 27-24.

Monday Night Showdown: The Green Bay-Favre Reunion

October 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

How lucky can ESPN get by having the broadcast rights to the first Packers-Vikings Favre game of the season? This game has so many good storylines that its hard to pick the most relevant.You have the revenge factor, as both Favre and the Packers try to prove that they were justified for their actions two summers ago. So far the Packers are losing that argument, as Favre-led teams have a much better record over the last year and a half, than the Favre-less Packers do (must be hard for the Pack to convince their fans that Favre was done when he still makes plays like this). Favre's success post-Green Bay is even more impressive considering he's working with new personnel and in a new system, is pushing 40, and had a bum arm last year. While you can say all you want about how Favre handled himself off the field, (and I have) you have to respect his humility with the situation, and no one can question what he does on the field.

The other big storyline of the game is the master-apprentice relationship between Favre and his replacement Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers spent three years as Favre's understudy after being drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. I think those years on the bench were the best thing for Rodgers in the long run. Despite this only being his second year starting, Rodgers has had more success than his fellow first round quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Jason Campbell (not to mention Rodgers cashed in on a lucrative contract extension, while the other two are fighting for jobs). Rodgers wasn't a Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan type of prospect, who could have just stepped in right away and been successful. Rodgers needed that time on the bench to mature and learn from the master. Now he goes up against his mentor for the first time (even though the media has pretty much compared his numbers and production to Favre weekly). Watching the Packers icon of old, battle against the new face of the franchise is pretty fun to watch, and it will be interesting to see who the last man is standing tonight.

In addition to the two main storylines there are a few other things to watch tonight. Despite being week four, this game does have some playoff implications for these two division rivals. If the Vikings win and go to 4-0, they will already have a two game lead on the Packers in the division. If the Packers win, then they vault to the top of the three team tie for first because of wins over Chicago and Minnesota. A win by Green Bay would also show that the North is the power conference of the NFC, and not the East or South like most people expected. Another thing to watch tonight is a win by Minnesota would give Brett Favre wins against all 32 franchise's in the NFL, the only player to do so.

While this topic will continue to be debated throughout the season (and maybe years to come), I'm glad Brett Favre is back and playing on Sundays (and Mondays), and not just for the good drama tonight. So far its not a case of some guy trying to play past his prime, like we've seen far too often in sports in recent years. If Favre still has something left in the tank, then he should be playing for the fans and for the game. How many times have we've seen wonderful careers cut short due to injury, tragedy, or simple loss of desire to play. While I think the media circus that Favre and the Packers have created the last few years (more Favre than the Packers), has tarnished their images, I do respect Favre for having the passion to just want to play football. Favre is an artist and entertainer, where would we be if other artists and entertainers had quit before their time. What if Leonardo da Vinci quit painting after The Last Supper, or if William Shakespeare quit writing after Romeo and Juliet, or if Vanilla Ice had quit rapping after "Ice Ice Baby" (alright bad example, but we would never have "Go Ninja, Go Ninja Go"). Even though I'm glad that Favre is still throwing the ball, it will be weird tonight to see 53 players wearing yellow and green and No. 4 not being one of them.