Thursday, August 07, 2008

Midnight Massac-Miracle

After weeks of non-stop coverage and obsessing over the old gunslinger, the long national nightmare is over, Brett Favre finally compromised his original position of Packers, Vikings or bust. He will take the first snap behind Nick Mangold at steamy Shea Stadium South, er Dolphin Stadium on September 7th, and begin the most highly anticipated season since 1999 -also led by big thrower well into in his 30s. His acquisition caps off the offseason binge that included retooling the offensive and defensive lines of the team, the most vital positions in football -ask the Giants- that were the weakest links last year. With what should be very adequate protection and a very capable running game -Thomas Jones doesn't scare anyone, but knows how to get the job done, the Jet offense can now keep opposing defenses, especially safeties crowding the box, honest. Will Favre throw foolish shuttle passes and throw deep into triple coverage? You bet. But you can also be assured you will not see cornerbacks guess right and intercept at least one Chad Pennington 15-yard sideline pass a game or Kellen Clemens stumble as he works on his improving his accuracy and decision making.

The transition for Favre will not be easy. The media spotlight will be an obvious challenge. More importantly, the quarterback and coaching staff -head coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, both younger than Favre- will have to reconcile differences in offensive systems, though I imagine adapting Favre's West Coast expertise to the Jets odd mix of a conservative run-first approach mixed with some elements of precision passing and trick plays will not be impossible. Laveranues Coles is perfectly suited for the short, over the middle plays dictated by the WCO, and Jerricho Cotchery is also becoming an increasingly reliable receiver. Neither are particularly nimble after the catch as desired by the system, though newly drafted tight end Dustin Keller could provide some good YAC -it feels good to use football acronyms after dealing with the lousy VORPs, WHIP, OPS+, etc with the mediocre Mets. That said, Favre made his name going deep, and a home run hitting speed burner would be nice to have to open up room for the Jets running back committee.

All this being said, these are still the Jets, and it's entirely possible Favre's starting streak could get broken on a flukey blindside hit by a scrub Dolphin linebacker, but it gives the team some juice -despite the best efforts of Bill Belichick killjoy disciple Mangini- entering the season, and makes ten wins and a wild card berth very possible. The Jets will have a fighting chance against the Patriots in the home opener -so much for warming up with a cupcake- but will not challenge their stranglehold on the AFC East. That said, the recent wild card runs of the Steelers and Giants makes anything possible, right?

"That's why they play the games."

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