The NFL amazes me. Once again, they have found a way to not only enrage a superstar, but they may have found a way to phase him out, as well. Brett Favre, merely an average season away from three major records, recently expressed his displeasure for Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers organization when they failed to bring in Randy Moss.At first glance, Favre comes off a little selfish and whiny, but when you get down to the facts, he’s just proclaiming what a team he has given his heart and soul to owes him. Think about it. Favre is on the verge of the career touchdown, yardage, and win records. And how did he achieve his success up until this point? With playmakers. With players around him that cared as much about winning as he did. But that, my friends, is no longer the case.
Favre, a man who overcame drug addiction and multiple injuries throughout the course of his career, brought Green Bay a Super Bowl victory, as well as a winning record in all but one of his 16 seasons. He re-wrote the Green Bay record book, and won the hearts of millions with his tireless play and passion for the game. And after all of this, all he wants is “to win”. Apparently, according to Favre, Randy Moss was the missing link to a passing game that had fallen off the charts the past few years.
Many analysts would say Favre has slipped as of late, and simply is not the player he used to be. He used to be a gunslinger that was relentless in his pursuit for the open receiver, or more importantly, the slightly open receiver who may or may not be triple covered. But, like I mentioned before, when you look at the facts and the statistics, Favre hasn’t underperformed. His supporting cast has.
In the Packer’s glory years Favre had the All-Pro threat Sterling Sharpe, who in his prime was arguably as good as Jerry Rice, if not better. After Sharpe had his career ended prematurely by a neck injury, Robert Brooks teamed with Pro-Bowl receiver Antonio Freeman to form another feared duo, giving Favre all the options he needed to guide the Packer’s into the post-season and further. During their Super Bowl run, Brooks went down with an ACL injury, speedy Super Bowl veteran Don Beebe stepped up, along with newly acquired Andre Rison, to help along the way.
Since then, the Packers have found ways to let go of talent after talent, leaving Favre weaponless, and looking as if he’s chucking balls up for grabs. And when you think about it, he doesn’t have much of a choice. Before Javon Walker went down with a knee injury two years ago, Favre was coming off back to back 30 touchdown seasons, not to mention a string of 4 seasons with at least 27 touchdown tosses.
Without his main deep threat in Walker, Favre had to try his best to utilize the underachieving Robert Ferguson, and the ultra inconsistent Donald Driver. While his statistics hovered around average, the critics cried that Favre was showing his age, that he had lost a step. The next season Walker was traded, leaving Brett without a solid number one option for the second season in a row. The only addition to the team? A rookie: Greg Jennings.
Another startling realization is the lack of a threat at the tight end position. In Favre’s best years, he had the reliable Mark Chmura as his main target, and Hall of Famer Keith Jackson at his disposal during their famed Super Bowl run in 96′. Who has he had since then? Bubba Franks, who can “supposedly” block, but can’t catch or run to save his life. And they drafted him in the first round. Next, they held on to the disappointing David Martin, a converted wide receiver out of Tennessee who couldn’t block, and really couldn’t even catch that well.
All awhile, the only thing that was saving Favre from complete self-destruction was a solid running game and one of the best offensive lines in football. So what happens last season? The Packers cut All-Pro guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, and Ahman Green goes down in week 5 for the rest of the season. To help save the Packer’s season that year, Noah Herron was bumped up on the depth chart, and Samkon Gado, a third stringer out of Liberty, was signed as a free agent.
Finally, this year’s NFL Draft rolls around. A handful of promising receiver, tight end, and running-back prospects await the Packers to call their name for the 16th selection. What happened? The Packers drafted a defensive tackle. Then, in round two, Ted Thompson picks an injury-prone, unproven running-back out of Nebraska; Brandon Jackson.
In summary, the Packers passed up would-be surefire weapons Favre could have made wonderful use of. Guys like tight end Greg Olsen, wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Anthony Gonzalez, and running-back Michael Bush would have been incredibly useful additions.
Then, during the second day, Ted Thompson gave Favre the final blow, the ultimate slap to the face. The Packers had ample opportunity, extra money, and every reason in the world to trade for Moss, but somehow Thompson found every reason not to.
Now the Packers have a disgruntled Favre, a shaky offense, and a season waiting filled with questions. There is speculation in the air that the Packers are thinking about acquiring Keyshawn Johnson. But at this point, it might be too late. Favre has already clearly expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s moves, and realizes more than ever that he is not a part of the team’s future plans. It appears that Favre feels he can still play, and would like to play for a few more years.
So what now? Do the Packers try to trade Favre? Do they look for trade options at tight end and/or receiver? I doubt that they will, but in my mind they definitely should. The only reason why they won’t trade him is because they know it would crush the hearts of any Packer Backer out there. That, and they know Aaron Rodgers isn’t ready. But this is not how you treat a future Canton resident. Stringing him along year after year, allowing the sagging offense to rest so eloquently on his shoulders. So my message to Ted Thompson (regardless of whether Favre wants to be traded or not): Find Favre some weapons, or find him a new home.