Desperation is one hell of a drug. It’s allowed speed dating to exist, and in the NFL it keeps giving us the gift of Brett Favre, over and over again. But whenever the annual in-season Favre comeback speculation bubbles — a phenomenon that’s gradually fading — something odd and a little confusing happens.
Since this is how we’ve been conditioned, the football-watching public lashes out at Favre, angry that he craves attention. That may be true to an extent, but Favre would descend into retirement forever and gladly throw passes for high school kids (indeed, he’s quite happy doing just that) if a team didn’t express at least a shred of interest in his services each year, or most years.
You see, a team has to do this…
St. Louis called Brett Favre, asking if the 44-year-old QB if he would be willing to play. Favre declined. More to story on ESPN all day.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 24, 2013
I had to stare at that for a good seven minutes on my computer screen this morning before contemplating further action. But then I grew surprised at my own surprise, and then almost ashamed. It’s a normal Favrian cycle, with the exception of one crucial element: he said no.
The Sunday of Week 7 was especially carnage filled, with Jay Cutler gone for a month, and the Colts losing Reggie Wayne for the season. The Rams didn’t escape the evil clutches of bone breaking, as quarterback Sam Bradford tore his ACL. The injury came at a time when, even as the team struggled, Bradford was resembling a quality quarterback. He completed at least 70.0 percent of his passes in three of his seven starts, while throwing 14 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. Now that’s suddenly gone, leaving a core of young receivers without a competent quarterback, and instead the Rams will turn to some combination of Kellen Clemens and Brady Quinn.
Sadly, it’s something less than crazy to think Favre may actually be an improvement over those two, even though he’s 44 years old, and even though he hasn’t thrown an NFL pass in three years. OK, it’s pretty crazy, but consider what the Rams have in Clemens and Quinn.
With Clemens, who will start Week 8, we have a career backup who’s set to start only his 13th game halfway through his ninth professional season. Worse, eight of those starts came in 2007, and throughout all of his game appearances he’s completed only51.8 percent of his passes. Then there’s Quinn, the infamous first-round flop who may have a bit more starting experience (20 starts), but that’s very much quantity over quality. His accuracy is pretty disgusting too (53.8 career completion percentage), as is his yards per attempt over 550 career throws (5.5).
So now we’re beginning to see why desperation reached such a point in St. Louis where a call was placed to a Mississippi farm, or wherever Favre is resting his head these days. At worst, an ancient 44-year-old was likely deemed equal to all other current options, and although he’s stationary and brittle, there sadly might be more upside with his blacksmith chiseled old man bro bod, and downfield heaving (or yes, gunslinging if you prefer).
This is what we’ve come to, NFL: Brett Favre is the quarterback glass case broken in emergencies. Sorry, Tim Tebow.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Let’s play NFL trivia with Doug Marrone
The Bills head coach is surely spending his week devising ways to at least slow Drew Brees when his team travels to New Orleans Sunday. But as we’ve all done on a well meaning Interweb journey, Marrone was up late burning that midnight oil when he fell down a wondrous information rabbit hole. And oh, the sights he saw…
Marrone on #Saints success: “It starts with Drew (Brees) … he’s a competitor. He beat Andy Roddick in tennis in high school”
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 23, 2013
A few words on the Browns’ quarterback debacle
At least the Rams arrived at their quarterback mess through an injury. I suppose Brian Hoyer’s own ACL tear wasn’t exactly helpful for the Browns, but the first problem was always the fact that he beat out Brandon Weeden, a first-round pick. And when that happens and a front office whiffs on a quarterback so badly that he’s already a backup in his second season, a lot of bodies hit the floor.
That’s already gone down in Cleveland, of course, with an entirely new regime turning the various knobs and levers. But still, there’s a more grand, sweeping statement of organizational failure and the mess that has to be cleaned up when a team’s two first-round picks in a draft that took place only a year ago are either gone (Trent Richardson) or benched (Weeden).
And to get even more macro here, when Jason Campbell replaces Weeden this Sunday to make only his eighth start over the past three years, he’ll be the Browns’ 20th starting quarterback since the franchise returned in 1999. Between Weeden, Brady Quinn, and Tim Couch, three first-round picks have now been wasted. No pressure next spring, guys.
Sadly, the fantasy impact here is doom. Campbell is slow-footed and his delivery is just as methodical, giving defensive fronts (the Chiefs will bring so much hurt) ample time to tee off. Consequently, there will be little time to find Josh Gordon deep, and Jordan Cameron’s production will be limited to scant red-zone looks.
Oh look, Dez Bryant is really good, and Calvin Jonson is also really good
It all made for a fun day of punditry discussion and comparisons, and reasons to say this player is better and that player is not better. It’s the sort of discussion we go through as fantasy addicts every August during the peak of draft season, even though admittedly with Johnson and Bryant it can get rather silly and useless (for the record, give me Johnson, but why can’t they both just be really, really, really good?).
But here’s a fun thing. Even with Bryant’s various injuries that have led to missed time, the Cowboys receiver has the advantage in four major statistical categories through the first 50 career games for both players (a cutoff used because that’s how many games Bryant has played, while Johnson has logged 98 games).