Posts Tagged ‘ Brett Favre ’

The Best & Worst of Week 11

It’s NFL Wednesday, and it’s time to kick this day off with the Best & Worst of Week 11. Send all NFL related questions to thesportsexpress@gmail.com, post them on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/thesportsxpress, or on the Facebook fan page here:

This week had some great moments. Two of the worst teams are on the best side, and the whole AFC North is on the duds for this week. And it took two years for this ordeal to happen? What am I talking about? Just stay tuned and find out.

THE BEST

Brett Favre- Many people thought that the offseason drama that he caused about retiring and unretiring (again) would result in the same disaster that was the New York Jets. Instead it has been the opposite. Favre had the highest completion percentage of his career (88%) completing 22/25 passes and four touchdowns. This season, he has 21 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. The Vikings were at 10-6 team before he signed. Now they are on the verge of a potential Super Bowl trip and Brad Childress can thank him for his contract extension that he received.

The Cleveland Browns & Detroit Lions- The Browns and Lions played the best, and most entertaining game of the season and week. It was filled with drama, excitement, and the toughness displayed by Matthew Stafford after a time out was called (see worst of the week: Eric Mangini) was simply amazing. Stafford’s five touchdowns were the most by a rookie QB in 72 years (Ray Buivid did this for the Chicago Bears in 1937). The Browns showed more offense in this game than they have all season long. Brady Quinn was impressive, throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Who knew that the worst can bring out the best?

The Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs stayed in the game throughout against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it’s always said when a good team (and World Champions) plays a team that has struggled and not seen great times, and the bad team hangs in the whole game, they start to believe. The Chiefs started to believe and wanted the game more, and they showed in their overtime win. Has anyone noticed that this team is now 2-0 without Larry Johnson on the team? The Chiefs, Lions, and Oakland Raiders all won on the same day for the first time since September 30th, 2007.

THE WORST

The AFC North: The Bengals (with the aforementioned Larry Johnson) lost to the Raiders, in which they gave up the game and blew a seven point lead in the closing moments. The Steelers lost to the Chiefs, the Ravens came up short against the Colts, missing huge opportunities to capitalize off three Colts turnovers and a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff made the difference again. The Browns lost to the Lions, which was made by a bad decision by…..

Eric Mangini: Mangini is on here for a couple of reasons: 1. Your team is up 24-3, in the first quarter, you had to just coach up your defense, tell your coordinator to do something… the secondary just was flat, and Stafford torched them for 422 yards. 2. This was the real thing here: you suffered a terrible pass interference call on Hank Poteat, and the red hot Stafford is out of the game w/ a shoulder injury. The ice cold Daunte Culpepper enters the game, and “Man-genius” decided to call a timeout. For what?!?! This allows Stafford to enter the game with one arm and find Brandon Pettigrew for the GW touchdown. Too bad this is his last season in Cleveland. There’s no way he stays after this one.

Kris Brown: For the second straight game, against a DIVISION opponent, and to top this off, this is a HUGE rivalry game for your team, the Houston Texans. The score once again, was 20-17. And you missed for the second straight game. These two misses from the last original Texan has hurt this team, and they really could be looking at 7-3 instead of 5-5. The rope has to be getting tighter for the normally reliable kicker. Tough week for him indeed.

THE BEST OF THE WORST

Brady Quinn: Fellow blogger, The NFL Chick, said it best: He can throw a pass for more than eight yards. Quinn was very efficient on Sunday, going 21-33 for 304 yards and the four touchdowns to zero interceptions, giving him a QB rating of 133.1, which is very good. He was poised in the pocket, and this should really boost his confidence for the next game. Too bad his game was overshadowed by the dumb decisions of his head coach and the defensive side of the ball.

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The Schism in ‘Sota

Well, Brett Favre is at it again.

The new term “schism” is basically a divide that is more than two ways. As Favre arrived to Minnesota a mere 10 days ago, skipping training camp and then starting against the Kansas City Chiefs. The main question was: what about the current battle for the starting position between Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson?

Favre is a legend, his toughness, and his blue collar image endeared himself to many different people during his time in Green Bay. But the last two years of back and forth and in and out of retirement has really put a tarnish on this legacy. He made a great impact with the New York Jets, and got them to an 8-3 start until they lost four of five that caused them to miss the playoffs. The treatment that Favre received preferential came after the Jets sputtered out at the end of the season. The Vikings knew this risk they were taking, and took it anyway. One good thing from Favre was that Adrian Peterson, the teams’ best player, was lobbying very hard for Favre to come to Minnesota, and when you are the star of the team, and you have the support of that star, that can really be some pull since he has the biggest voice of the team.

But… did they forget that they brought in a quarterback, Sage Rosenfels, from the Houston Texans? Rosenfels has started in NFL games before, and felt that Minnesota was the best opportunity for him to start and he had the chance to obtain the starting job. All of the sudden, just like in Houston, Washington, and Miami, he’s back to being the backup upon Favre’s arrival. Sure you have to be professional about it, but he was gaining respect from his teammates very quickly, which was a huge plus for him.

And what about Tavaris Jackson? He has been the starter for the past couple of seasons, but had he been what Brad Childress envisioned, a kid with the similar talents and skills of Donovan McNabb, but he has struggled mightily over the past two seasons he has been in Minnesota. Had he been performing better, he could be in a better position where nobody would even be trying to take his job. The good thing for Jackson is that he has a good support system among his teammates, and that’s where possibly the biggest dissension among the team. Jackson really showed brilliance against the Chiefs in the preseason game.

One thing that has been learned from Favre’s season with the Jets a year ago is that when the Jets were winning and were 8-3, there was no negativity, but as they sputtered out and missed the playoffs, the grumbles came. The Vikings were already a contender WITHOUT Favre, and he could possibly get them over the top. As long as the there is no divide, and the Vikings win, things will be fine. If this season is another Jets’ repeat, expect the grumbles and groans to get louder.

And prepare for future “schisms” in ‘Sota next year.

NFC North Preview- Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are complete. Well, almost complete.

This is a team that has a great running game, a good receiver and tight end, drafted a flashy playmaker that can electrify his team and the crowd, and have a strong offensive line. You put that with a defensive unit that has been one of the best defenses (especially on the run) in the NFL in recent years, and this team is simply one of the best, and they are also having a bitter taste in their mouths after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs.

On offense, the key thing that is missing is a quarterback. Taaris Jackson was supposed to be groomed into the Vikings’ version of Donovan McNabb with his mobility and strong arm. Instead he has not grasped the concept of the West Coast offense and has seen not as much action to earn the trust of his coaches and teammates. To give Jackson some motivation, the Vikings picked up Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans. Rosenfels has more experience with the offense, and was really primed and ready to the starter.

Unfortunately, for Rosenfels and Jackson. They will have a battle, but it will be for the second string team.

Brett Favre’s signing a few days ago changed the whole dynamic of the team. It’s bad for the two QBs who were going to have an opportunity and it was snatched from them, but Favre has so much familiarity with this system, and he will not be a detriment to this team like he was in New York with the Jets.

The Vikings have one of the best running back tandems in the NFL with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and they have a good deep ball receiver in Bernard Berrian. They were in need of a second receiver to get the QB more options than Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe at tight end. So the Vikings drafted former Florida WR Percy Harvin, who knows how to create plays and make things happen for his team.

Defensively, Minnesota has the best run defense, and has allowed the fewest yards on the ground in the NFL for three straight years. The architect of this defense, Leslie Frazier, is still in Minnesota, but some team will be hiring him next season, especially if the success continues. They have the strongest defensive line in their division, with the Williamses, Kevin and Pat (no relation) anchoring the D-line at DT. Add the speed and agility of Jared Allen. In the secondary, Antoine Winfield will look to have another breakout season which will result in a Pro Bowl.

The Vikings will repeat as champions of the NFC North, and even before Brett Favre, they were going to repeat as champions. The addition of Favre just could, possibly be the thing that gets them to the Super Bowl.

AFC East Preview- New York Jets

After a season that was built with such promise, the New York Jets fell apart, and collapsed. The Brett Favre experiment did not work out the way it wanted it to, which subsequently led to the retirement of the all-time leading QB in all of the statistical categories (or most anyway). It also led to the end of the Mangini era in New York. Both Favre and Mangini have moved on, with Favre coming out of retirement (again) to play for the Minnesota Vikings, and Mangini becoming the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

The Jets overhauled the make up of the team. They hired Rex Ryan as their new head coach from the Baltimore Ravens. Ryan, was the defensive coordinator of the dominant Ravens defense, and is looking to implement that same Baltimore toughness and intensity to the Jets. He has brought a new energy to the Jets squad, and a great deal of optimism for the Jets fans. They also used the #5 pick in the NFL Draft on Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is now in a battle for the starting QB job with Kellen Clemens who has been waiting for years for his opportunity. This is his best time to try for the job, right now.

On offense, aside from the Jets losing Favre, they also took a big hit on the receiving corps with Laveranues Coles bolting NY for Cincinnati. Thomas Jones is the running back and is looking to rebound from a season where his numbers were down, and the QB battle will be an interesting one. Sanchez was embraced by Jets fans, and should be the starting QB if he plays well during the preseason. This success can be made, just look at Matt Ryan’s & Joe Flacco’s success in Atlanta and Baltimore, respectively.

The Jets on defense has the potential to be extremely potent, especially now with the 3-4 scheme and the linebackers that this team has. The Jets have Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Vernon Gholston as outside linebackers, and then Bart Scott followed Ryan from Baltimore to New York, to play inside linebacker. The Jets could be doing big things, especially with all that depth. If they can be healthy, they will make plenty of noise.

The Jets are going to be respectable, and in a year or two, probably back to the top of the AFC East, but stranger things have happened. Nobody thought the Falcons would have the year they had, or the Dolphins would turn around, so in recent memory, the hope is high. Expect a third or fourth place finish in the division this season.

From Hero to Villain

For 16 seasons, he was the heart and soul of a proud NFL Franchise that was on its toughest leg.

For 16 seasons, he embodied what was the original vision of the First Super Bowl Champions and their legendary coach. His toughness, character, and blue-collar work ethic endeared him to the smallest market in the NFL.

For 16 seasons, Brett Favre embodied what it was to be a Green Bay Packer.

Now in a matter of two seasons, #4 has gone from the hero to the villain.

When Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings, it really symbolized the end of a lot of things. The end of the legacy in Green Bay, the end of a relationship between one of the legends of the Packers and its loyal fan base, the end of an era. The fact that Favre still has something left in the tank, and still wants to play is more than remarkable, the fact that he is going to the hated Minnesota Vikings is what is tough for Packer fans to swallow.

Of course those who don’t think Favre is the villain can say that the Packers were the cause of this ugly split between the two, and GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy drove Favre out when he said he was going to retire originally.Those are the fans who will forever appreciate the QB reviving the once-proud franchise and bringing them back to relevance. No matter what Brett does now, next year, or during his time in New York with the Jets, Green Bay made him who he was. He his synonymous with the Packers and will be in the Hall of Fame as a Green Bay Packer.

Those, however outside of Wisconsin are tired of the same drama that has gone on for the past year and a half or so: “I don’t want to come back, then wake up… I do”. I understand the love of the game, but other peoples’ lives are at risk. The Vikings were a first place team in the NFC North without Favre, but Sage Rosenfels was on his way to being a starter, and finally getting his opportunity, and Tavaris Jackson was trying to make his last stand to be the Vikings starter. Now Rosenfels is going to be the backup, and Jackson could be on his way out if he will be the third string quarterback.

Favre’s remarks at the press conference could be taken as condescending, and unappreciative of the Packers and the city that rooted for him for 16 years. Now that the Vikings and Packers will be playing twice a year, expect the entertainment between these two teams, and I want the true reaction of these Packer fans when Favre returns to Lambeau Field on Nov. 1st.