Football is Favre-Less

I heard the Brett Favre news in the car this morning, seconds before I walked into the dentist office. As I sat in the chair, I had to try to reflect on Favre and what’s been going on with his career these last few years. I had to actually think about how I felt because, quite frankly, I’m indifferent. Perhaps we’ve been conditioned to expect and deal with Favre’s (seemingly final) decision to retire. Perhaps I’m distracted because when I feel my bottom lip it feels like a catcher’s mitt

Early in his career, Favre was simply magnificent. He’s always played with a youthful vigor, but I must say I enjoyed that much more when he was actually youthful. It seemed more genuine then, but maybe that’s not Favre’s fault. At something point, probably around the year 2000, the media’s perception of Favre shifted a little and he went from being a star player to living legend. He was romanticized, perhaps to a fault. It got to be a little much. Again, I’m not sure that was Favre’s fault.

Favre’s dealt with a lot of personal adversity, and at times that fact was obvious in his demeanor, body language, even in his words. Watching all that was a bit unsettling at times, save of course for incredible performances such as the MNF game against the Raiders several years ago. According to Favre, he’s leaving the game right now because of the mental strain, and I’ve seen that on his face for years, so part of me feels relieved he’s leaving the game (although I won’t ruled out Favre returning to the NFL).

I do understand where those who say enough is enough on Favre are coming from. It got a little annoying, dealing with the suspense every off-season. Favre recently intimated that he didn’t feel appreciated by the organization, which doesn’t sit well. I must say, some of Favre’s press conferences came across as a bit over the top to me. This was still a man talking about playing a game, yet the feeling came across that Favre and his exploits were more extraordinary than everyone and everything else.

No matter; Favre is gone, at least for now, so it’s time to look at the post-Favre Packers. The one good thing about Favre hanging around is that Aaron Rogers has been able to sit back and absorb a lot of football, watching and learning from Favre the last three year (although it’s very questionable that Favre really gave much of himself to Rogers, at least early in Rogers’ Packer career). Rogers’ slippage in the 2005 NFL draft was a big story, but I felt then that he was a better prospect than Alex Smith, who was taken #1 overall (Rogers fell to #24). Granted, that’s not saying much, but as of today I would definitely rather have Rogers running my team than Smith. Rogers played under QB Guru Jeff Tedford, but that might not be a good thing, since Tedford disciples have flopped in the NFL, other than Trent Dilfer, who was no gemstone. I’m talking about Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, and Kyle Boller, all former #1 picks and all current NFL busts.
Rogers looked terrible in preseason play his first two years, but he seemingly took a big step forward in 2007. In fact, as you likely know, he actually played a large portion of a regular season game midseason against Dallas. In a very tough spot and in a big game, I thought he did a damn good job. He actually reminded me a little of Tony Romo, moving around effectively, threw it accurately, and showed some zip on the ball. The sampling is microscopically small, but it’s better than nothing. And coupled with his clear improvement in practice and in preseason games last year, I give Rogers a chance to settle in as a solid NFL player.

There should be some issues for Rogers early on, but you have to recognize how he’s in a good spot. The o-line did a damn good job last year and is youthful. RB Ryan Grant looks rock solid, and the receiving corps is well above average. Rogers is also in a fantasy-friendly system and he’s considered a very good fit for it. I gotta tell you, while I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road, I think Rogers is ready to play.

Of course, there will be a drop-off from Favre, so there will be a drop-off for all the skill players like Grant, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and Donald Lee. We’ll have to see if Rogers has a specific chemistry with one or more of the receivers, and if it looks like one guy in particular will be leaned on more than expected with Rogers in. So while I’m cautiously optimistic on Rogers, the fact remains the Favre news throws a monkey wrench into the ’08 Packer plan. I don’t see how Rogers in is good for any of the key Packers. The good news is this team is advanced and talented enough to handle such a transition, so I wouldn’t assume these guys are dead. But Grant in particular bothers me. Grant’s success in 2007 was in many ways a function of a pass-heavy approach, and success passing the ball. It’s questionable if he can sustain that level of production with a passing game that is sure to struggle at times this year.

Category: Fantasy Football

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5 Responses

  1. tpwaller says:

    Favre could have played longer, but I can’t fault him for retiring after 17 years.

    Aaron Rogers looked good in the game against DAL. He’s had time to learn the NFL system as a backup. For me, the jury is still out. I can’t rank the GB players like Grant, Jennings and Driver as high with Favre gone. Favre was a HOFer. Rogers is an unproven commodity.

  2. PackFan says:

    Well, it’s been fun. Perhaps there have been better quarterbacks, perhaps there have been worse – it really doesn’t matter … to Packer Nation, he belongs to us. Through thick and thin, he was our guy. May you others be so lucky as to find the same on your respective teams.

    The rest is just football in the NFL. The way the media carried on today, you would have thought the guy had died instead of simply announcing his retirement – the same way they’ve probably overused and abused the retirement angle for the past five years instead of expending a bit more energy on writing more informative stories.

    Rogers is in a good situation, having been able sit and learn for the past three seasons after becoming a Packer as the 24th pick in Round One. Remember – Rex Grossman was supposed to go to the Pack at #29 in 2003 until the Bears traded to take him at #22, as was J.P. Losman, who Buffalo picked at #22 by giving Dallas a #1 in 2004.

    If the Packers didn’t believe in his potential, they could have made moves to draft Cutler, Leinert … or a host of others – but they didn’t. Only time will tell if Rogers can grow into the position and be the guy, but what an opportunity this kid has in front of him!

    More than anything, I think it will come down to good game planning and good coaching. The offense will change a bit to match Aaron’s strengths, and he won’t be asked to throw the team on his shoulders and carry it the way Brett was from time to time, but I still think McCarthy will be aggressive in his play calling when the opportunity presents itself, and the defense will take on a more significant role.

    From my perspective, we have a good young & upcoming team, a good coaching staff, and a good front office. For fantasy – well, John always talks about the importance of the Waiver Wire, and this may be the tool de’ choice for the 2008 Packers.

  3. tpwaller says:

    PackFan, did the Pack have a shot at drafting Cutler, Leinart and other top first round QBs?

    We’ve seen how difficult it is to follow a legend. It took years for the Cowboys to replace Troy Aikman. The Broncos fans couldn’t have been too happy with Brian Griese and Jake the Snake.

    The young core followed Brett Favre’s lead and Favre won with them. We’ll see if they enjoy the same success with Rogers. But the Pack had a good run – 1 super bowl victory in Favre’s career.

  4. PackFan says:

    Green Bay had the 5th selection in the 1st round of the 2006 draft, and selected A.J. Hawk from Ohio State.

    The Titans had selected Vince Young with Pick #3, and the Cardinals picked up Leinart with the 10th selection. (Mario Williams and Reggie Bush had gone 1-2).

    The Rams had pick #11, but traded with the Broncos who selected Jake Cutler.

    For what it’s worth, the Jets took QB Kellen Clemens (Oregon) in the 2nd Round at #49 and the Vikes selected QB Tarvaris Jackson (Alabama State) with Pick #64, QB Charlie Whitehurst went to the Chargers at #81, and QB Brodie Croyle (Oklahoma) went to the Chiefs with pick #85 in the 3rd Round.

    The Packers had the 36th pick, but traded it to the Patriots (WR Chad Johnson) for the Patriots 2nd (#52) & 3rd Round (#75) selections, and with them took Greg Jenning (WR) at #52 and Jason Spitz (G) at #75.

    In this draft the Pack also traded problem child Javon Walker to the Broncos for Pick #37, but then traded down with Atlanta for 3 extra picks.

    Rodgers had fallen to the Packers at #24 in the 2005 draft.

  5. tpwaller says:

    PackFan, based on what we’ve seen so far. Passing on Leinart wasn’t a bad move. Cutler’s looked good, but not great. With quarterbacks, it takes time to evaluate whether a team made the right move. Time will tell.

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