Watching the VIkings so far this season has been an exercise in frustration for me. This is a talented team that went out and got more talent after the season kicked off (Randy Moss), yet they find themselves at 2-4, with a gut wrenching loss to Green Bay in the rearview mirror.
What worked so well last season, namely Brett Favre, hasn't worked this year. You know the stats, and they are telling. Already more interceptions in 6 games than all of last season, the 30th ranked passer percentage in the NFL, and decision making that at times borders on the ludicrous. Add in two fractures in Favre's ankle, and it seems to me there can only be one choice for QB this Sunday in New England, Tarvaris Jackson.
Believe me, those are hard words to type. But when removing the emotion from it, it becomes almost obvious for me.
To lay blame solely at the feet of Brett Favre is ridiculous, because that would be patently false. Receivers haven't always run correct routes, the offensive line has stuggled at times, Brad Childress has been glaringly incompetent at times this season, don't even get me started on the officiating, and defensively, there is virtually zero pressure being put on the opposing quarterback. But for me, Favre seems like a different guy than last year. He has looked indifferent more often than not, and I think that feeling can permeate, especially when it comes from a guy as iconic as he is.
It just hasn't clicked this year, for whatever reason. Favre looks distracted, and at times I get the feeling he'd rather be anywhere other than playing for the Vikings...or anyone...this season. And there are a lot of reasons to be distracted, from the ankle, to the bad start, to the Jenn Sterger stuff.
When the Vikings were looking at bringing in Favre last season, I asked myself this question: If I were to just look at the stat lines alone, and not associate his stats with who that player was or what team he might have played for for 16 years, would I want that guy as the starting quarterback of the team I love? The answer was, if he's healthy, hell yes. He gives us the best chance to win, and we might have ourselves something special here. He was, and we did. 2009 was better for me in many ways than 1998, for a lot of reasons.
In looking at the situation as it stands today, I keep coming back to that same question, asked in a slightly different way: If I were to look at just the stat lines and injury situation alone, and not associate those stats with the player's name or reputation, would it be reasonable to remove that guy as the starter and let the backup start until the other guy is healthy? For me, again, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Favre's play has been subpar, and now he has absolutely zero mobility. If Favre's mobility is as limited on Sunday as it was at the post game press conference, it would seem that playing Favre would border on the criminally negligent. Okay, a bit over the top there. It would be foolish to start Favre for a number of reasons.
New England plays a base 3-4, which the Vikings offensive line has had trouble dealing with historically. The Pats would be bringing everything at Favre from the first snap, and he would be at risk of an even more serious injury, because all he could do would be to just stand there and get hit. For the VIkings to keep Favre protected, they would almost be forced into a two tight end snap, greatly limiting the options available to them offensively. So, to protect Favre, you're keeping one of your big playmakers off the field, and that also plays into New England's hands.
Tarvaris Jackson gives you mobility, and quite frankly, the Vikings need to know whether or not Jackson is the answer for next season. I'm sure he's learned watching Favre, and he has Randy Moss to throw to, so the circumstances for Jackson are different than when he first got here and struggled.
Look, I love what Favre has brought to this team, and I want him healthy for the stretch run for the playoffs--yes, I believe that this team can go to the playoffs. And I believe that they will go to the playoffs, but they need to get a win in New England, and they need to get Favre healthy so he is at his best in November and December.
The quickest way to do both, in my opinion, is to let Tarvaris Jackson start Sunday.