Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brett Favre: Pros

I'm a Favre skeptic that would prefer the Vikings start Sage Rosenfels. I hope, then, that when I address the positives of adding Brett Favre to the Vikings, I'm able to offer a modest, sober assessment. But there are some on-the-field benefits to having Favre at quarterback.

Spreading the field for AP
It's hard to believe that the following two statements are true:

A. In his career, Adrian Peterson's starting quarterbacks have been Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, and Gus Frerotte.
B. Adrian Peterson has averaged 5.2 yards per rush.

In 2007 I watched the Chicago Bears occasionally put nine players in the box. Eight in the box is a regular occurance. Could a team do that with Brett Favre as the opposing QB? I don't know, and that could mean a career year for AP.

Low sack rate
Favre's career sack percentage is 4.8%. He led the league with 2.2% in 2004 and was as low as 2.7% in 2007. The Vikings have a good running game, but for years have been bad in 3rd and 11+ situation. A low sack rate will put the Vikings in fewer terrible situations.

Third and long?
Then again, perhaps a strong-armed quarterback like Favre will give the team a better chance of converting on third and long, too. I feel the Vikings have struggled in third and long since the days of Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss.

Two-minute offense
The Vikings haven't had much of a hurry-up offense at all in the Childress reign; Favre would make the Vikings better when they need to drive quickly.

I do not know that these positives outweight the various glaring negatives. I also do not know that Sage Rosenfels would not provide some of the same things. But these are some potential benefits to Brett Favre at quarterback.


  1. Anonymous2:49 PM

    I'm with you on the Farve skepticism, but I also agree with your thoughts on the plusses of Farve. Hopefully if he signs with the vikes we get fewer men in the box and a better two minute offense.

  2. There's a very good chance Favre is going to be great for the year he's with the Vikings, but like you said, what happens after that? I don't want the Vikings to be like the 1999 Rams or the 2005 Seahawks, I want them to be like the Patriots or the '90s Packers/Cowboys/49ers.

  3. Naturally, I disagree on several points :)

    1. Is it really realistic to expect significantly better than 5.2 yards per rush? Not to mention that if the passing game is improved (questionable), that'll mean fewer carries for AP and thus less yardage.

    The primary quarterbacks during the five 2,000-yard rushing seasons in NFL history were Jeff Kemp, Kyle Boller, Scott Mitchell, John Elway, and Joe Ferguson. Elway missed four starts (giving way to Bubby Brister), while OJ's Bills, "led" by Ferguson, averaged just over 17 pass+sacks per game. Good QBs don't usually mean good rushing attacks.

    2, Can't argue with that, except to point out, as with Sage, that a low sack rate may be the result of throwing an interception when under pressure instead of taking the sack.

    3. Career passer rating on 3rd and 6+ yards:

    Brett Favre: 81.0 (59.4% completion %)
    Tarvaris Jackson: 70.1 (56.8%)
    Sage Rosenfels: 94.1 (60.8%)

    Both T-Jack and Sage obviously have much fewer attempts.

    4. Passer rating with 2 minutes left in half:

    Favre: 81.7
    Jackson: 48.3 (ugh)
    Rosenfels: 96.8 (does not include Rosencopter :) )

    Favre's overall passer rating is 85.4. So he's not particularly better (and is in fact worse, which may or may not be predictable) in "high-pressure" situations.

    And these are "career" numbers, not "last few years" numbers. I'd wager Favre's numbers of the last few years are considerably worse.

  4. Jason,

    Regarding AP, I thought my response was worth a new post:

    Regarding the other points, those numbers just reinforce my belief that at this point, Brett Favre doesn't bring anything more to the table than Sage Rosenfels, which is why--as I've consistently written--I'd prefer Rosenfels.

  5. And just to clarify, I think Favre would help the Vikings in a two-minute offense not because of a belief in his "clutch" ability to handle "high-pressure" situations. It's the observation that Favre does provide the passing ability to move the ball down the field quickly when the team needs to and the defense knows it is a pass-only situation. Obviously Jackson doesn't provide that; Rosenfels might.

  6. Anonymous11:17 AM

    Look how well the Jets did with Favre the first half of last season. That wasn't happening with Pennington or any other weak armed QB. Now given Pennington was successful in Miami, but that's neither here nor there.

    I just feel teams will respect favre's arm and if he can just back off a little bit from his interception rate then I think we have a legit shot. He's a guy who can win it for us if were down by 3 with 2 minutes in the 4Q. I'm not so sure Sage can do that, and I know TJ can't

    I don't think Favre will carry us to being 15-1, but I feel like he'll make everyone else on the team better (AP, Berrian, Rice, Harvin, defense). I say the defense because if he can convert some third downs on a regular basis, our Defense has more time to rest. I think some people have forgotten just how many minutes the D put on the field last season. It was pretty ridiculous some games.