August 07, 2008
After weeks of head-spinning speculation in which football fans were inundated with enough Brett Favre stories to drive the sane maniacal, the Country Boy heads to the Big Apple. Praise Jesus its over.
Meanwhile back in Green Bay, former understudy Aaron Rodgers gears up for his first full season as the Packers starter.
Of course this begs the obligatory question: Which 'green' quarterback is more fantasy desirable?
The Piano Man and Big Noise don white lab coats and give their diagnoses in roughly 250 words...
In roughly six months, Ted Thompson has toyed with Rodgers more than Lucifer Shanahan has fantasy owners in his devilish 13-year Broncos tenure.
Psychologically, the scars could run deep, but before owners automatically write him off, reexamine his situation.
The first-year starter steps behind center of a spread offense tailored perfectly to his strengths. Rodgers' exceptional accuracy on short-to-intermediate routes, preparatory skills and pocket composure are key tools that could yield instant results. Recall that when Favre exited with an injury Week 13 at Dallas, Rodgers played brilliantly, completing 18 of 26 passes (69.2 CMP%) for 201 yards and one touchdown. That pressure-packed experience showed he can handle the spotlight.
Remember, Favre imparted a vast amount of knowledge to Rodgers in the youngster's four-year tenure as understudy. That coupled with his familiarity of the Packers system will prove invaluable.
With numerous lethal targets - Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Donald Lee - an improved offensive line and more consistent running game, the 24-year-old is in an environment where he can flourish. Yes, his inexperience will be costly at times and his every move will be scrutinized, but Rodgers has the right mindset and, more importantly, the tools to toss 23-26 TDs in the Packers' dink-and-dunk system.
Sure, Favre will play in a Jets system with excellent weapons and an inflexible offensive line, but the 38-year-old gunslinger is one year closer to annual colonoscopies. And he's on the cover of Madden.
This year, student outplays teacher.
Pianowski says: Let’s not get silly over one Aaron Rodgers game. Put him in the Rob Johnson Hall of Fame if you want, but until we see extended play, he’s a big unknown. Teams misjudge their QB talent all the time: consider Drew Brees at San Diego, Derek Anderson in Cleveland, or even Tom Brady at Michigan (don’t Drew Henson me – why was Brady platooning as a senior?). Rodgers has shown an awkward pocket presence and a slow clock during preseason games; excess hits and staying healthy could be a problem.
Time isn’t on Favre’s side, either, and he’ll need to learn a new offense – Brian Schottenheimer isn’t a West Coast guy. But the Jets have plenty of toys in place: a route-specialist and budding star in Jerricho Cotchery; a speedy, reliable vet in Laveranues Coles; a Dallas Clark clone in rookie TE Dustin Keller; a rebuilt offensive line. The alternative Favre landing spot – Tampa Bay – looks downright prehistoric by comparison, where the passing game amounts to Old Man River (Joey Galloway) and a bunch of scrubs who wouldn’t start for any other playoff team.
New York may not have been Favre’s first choice, but give him a few days with his new offense, he’ll feel 28 again. Thomas Jones can move the chains, but he’s not a touchdown hog in the red zone; advantage, Favre. You know No. 4 will play through any ailment, so it’s safe to expect 16 games.
I was Favred out, but I’ve got a second wind now. I’m calling for 27 TD passes and playoff contention, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.