Brett Favre set a few records and some new career milestones in his Monday night effort against the New York Jets this past week, but does he really have the staying power and durability to help the Vikings reach the playoffs? Favre's late start and poor early-going against the Jets likely led many fans and Favre haters alike to wonder aloud if this guy really is too old to be playing football.
Aside from his alleged off-the-field "sexting" shenanigans being blasted all over the media, Favre is struggling with his age and related hangups like Tendonitis. Favre could be seen clutching his elbow and wincing in pain after almost every throw late in Monday's game.
The Jets squeaked out a win over the Vikings due primarily to a late interception on what began as a promising drive for the Vikings. The Jets stacked up a 22-20 lead (on mostly field goals) with just 1 minute and 38 seconds remaining.
The Vikings stared in the face of an easy 3rd-and-5 from their own 21-yard line when Favre changed his team's fate in the worst possible way with a huge pickoff by Jets defender Dwight Lowery. Lowery's touchdown iced the game for the Jets. Minnesota was a good 50 yards away from a game-winning field goal opportunity, and the only guy to point the finger of blame at was Brett Favre.
70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns are fantastic feats in the career of a professional quarterback, but stats don't win games or get you to the playoffs. Wins do.
Favre would be much better in a two-quarterback set up where he can be a specialty long bomb or 3rd and 4th down specialist of some sort. He can't continue to help the Vikings compete with the best teams in the NFL if it takes him a whole half to warm up. He faces significant hurdles to overcome like his age, his waning ability and endurance, and his farewell-tour, final-hurrah attitude. It can't be about padding Favre's stats if this team wants to get to the playoffs.
Favre's worst flaw is his timing. So many times on Monday he took way too long to get rid of the ball. He was sacked, hurried, rushed, off-target or intercepted because he either held the ball too long or his slap-the-ball-before-he-throws-it move tipped Jets defenders off to when to make their own moves. At his best in last Monday's game, Favre was as fine as he was in his prime, but at his worst he was a walking disaster. He stumbled around awkwardly, plodded slowly and made poor throws and decisions.
Favre also fumbled the ball (breaking Warren Moon's record for most all-time QB fumbles) a few times in the rainy conditions. It was hard not to notice age as a factor in Favre failing to help his team win. It was too little too late, and Favre just couldn't connect with receivers Percy Harvin and Randy Moss for most of the night. Maybe some kinks can be worked out, but the Vikings will have trouble running the ball until they find a viable QB to coordinate with Favre and help share the workload like a 2-back offense does with the running game.
Unfortunately for Favre, you can't ice down age. Still, he can use it wisely and sparingly to improve the chances of his team and do much more in his final year than just padding his own already-superior stats. The Vikings should learn to use him in the right circumstances and keep in mind his major weaknesses to maximize his impact on the team and make sure he performs at the best of his ability as long as he contributes.