New Jet Takes Off On Short Notice
Favre Faces Steep Learning Curve
Thursday, August 14, 2008
If the New York Jets thought the difficult part was done when they obtained Brett Favre last week in a late-night trade with the Green Bay Packers, they perhaps have had to reconsider.
The task at hand is every bit as challenging: Now the Jets have to get Favre ready for the season.
Favre joined his new teammates last Thursday night in Cleveland, the day after the trade, but only watched them play in their preseason opener. He began practicing with the Jets last weekend and is scheduled to start Saturday night's preseason game against the Washington Redskins at Giants Stadium.
No one is promising it's going to be easy.
"We've got three weeks" until the regular season opener Sept. 7, said Jets tight end Bubba Franks, also Favre's former teammate in Green Bay. "It's gonna take every minute of those three weeks."
Franks's face was one of the few familiar ones for Favre when he joined the Jets. The usual way of the NFL is for a coach or front-office executive to move from one city to another, then bring in former associates who know how the operation works.
Favre, after 16 seasons with the Packers, has had no such comfort zone in his move to New York. He didn't know the coaches. He didn't know most of the players. He didn't know the offensive system. He would be playing in New York after years of dividing most of his time between Green Bay and his home in Mississippi.
Not everyone in the league is convinced the transition is going to be smooth.
"I think it could look a little ragged," said a front-office executive with an NFC team, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be perceived as publicly criticizing the trade. "That's not a lot of time to get everything clicking, and he's been in one place, one system, forever."
Favre, 38, had one of his best years last season, throwing for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns during the regular season and carrying the Packers to the NFC championship game. But he had been a rather ordinary quarterback for two seasons before that, totaling 38 touchdown passes and 47 interceptions in the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
"I hope I play at the [high] level I've always played at," Favre said. "There's no guarantees. . . . [It's] the game of football, and anything can happen."
Jets Coach Eric Mangini said he and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would try to speed Favre's progress by changing some of their play-calling language to match what Favre has used in the past.