No Favre Remains Reason to Be Excited About Jets Season

Ryan/Sanchez gamble can't be worse than last year

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    There's a fairly wide range of thoughts about how the Jets will do this season. There are those that believe they can ride Mark Sanchez to nine or 10 wins and a playoff spot and those that believe that Rex Ryan's new system and new quarterback will need more than one year to gel. Whatever camp you put yourself in, it's hard to imagine that there are too many people missing Brett Favre and Eric Mangini these days.

    Favre's return from the farm, conveniently after the lion's share of practice time was over and done, and Mangini's Kim Jong Il secrecy act about the Browns quarterback would have been a lot less humorous if they were happening here. Yet somehow these two self-absorbed ninnies still found a way to drag the Jets into their lives.

    At a press conference on Wednesday, Favre, whose Vikings face Mangini's Browns on Sunday, said that the Jets should have benched him toward the end of last season.

    "I was receptive to sitting last year. When we finally did an MRI and found out I had a torn biceps last year, I felt like, with about four or five games left, that even though I was making some pretty good throws and some decent plays, I felt like I was doing the team more harm because I was missing on some throws. ... I talked with Brian Schottenhemier, talked to Mike Tannenbaum, and my quarterback coach who now is the coordinator for Cleveland, and addressed that with him that I thought maybe I was doing more harm than good.

    The only thing that comes to mind when hearing that is the advice that George Costanza gave to Jerry Seinfeld about beating a lie detector test. "It's not a lie if you believe it." 

    Nine interceptions in the last five games would be more than "some throws," but it isn't worth believing a word out of this man's mouth. He's making excuses for playing terribly at the end of last season and he's starting to line up the excuses for when he plays like garbage this season. He's already talked about how much his shoulder hurts, how much his knee hurts, how his sciatica has flared up, how he's allergic to the turf at the Metrodome and he's waiting for his swine flu tests to come back, so it's no surprise that he's doing some revisionist history to his Jets tenure.

    Is there anyone stupid enough to believe that if Favre went to Jets coaches and said that he wasn't physically well enough to play, that they would force him to play? And is there anyone stupid enough to believe that if the Jets had benched Favre last season that old number four would have just grabbed a clipboard and cheered on Kellen Clemens? Didn't think so. Mangini may be a bad coach, but he's not going to play a quarterback who doesn't want to play.

    Mangini spoke a bit about Favre on Wednesday as well, but it was the typical mealy-mouthed nothingness that he specialized in during his three years with the Jets. His words were always as empty as his face on the sidelines, blankly staring at his team collapsing on the field because he didn't have the slightest clue about how to stop the bleeding. All that nothingness and secrecy is supposed to show that he's in control, but it's really just another way of shirking accountability which made him and Favre perfect for each other.

    Ryan may not win 10 games this year, but he'll stand up there to give and take anything that comes along. Sanchez may not be the subject of weekly paeans from Peter King, but that may be a good thing. He'll be required to actually deal in facts and not the myths that Favre tries to use as substitutes. 

    UPDATED: More fun thanks to Favre. The NFL is investigating the Jets for not putting Favre on the injured report last season because of his comments on Wednesday. Teams have been fined as much as $25,000 for similar infractions in the past, although it's hard to say what the league would do here since nothing Favre said indicates that there was ever a shred of doubt that he'd actually play in the games. Unless you're a gambler (and the NFL would never do anything to encourage that), the injury report is only to let you know a player's availability and not his effectiveness. Either way, Favre continues to be like the house guest who you discover clogged your toilet five minutes after he took off.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.