So Brett Favre had an unimpressive season opener last night, after another annoying will-he-or-won’t-he-retire offseason. Is it time to put the old man out to pasture?
I’d say that reaction is premature. Last year, Favre got to ease into the season. His first games were against the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions. Even then, Favre mostly just handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson like he did last night. Favre passed for just 110 yards against Cleveland and 155 yards against Detroit. He didn’t really air it out until he passed for 301 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3. And although we all remember the heroic last-second touchdown pass to Greg Lewis, this was a very narrow victory over a fairly weak team.
In fact, Favre didn’t face a team that ended up having a winning record until he confronted his old demons with the Green Bay Packers in Week 4 (this was also the first time he really had to carry the offense, with Peterson rushing for only 55 yards). The Minnesota Vikings’ 6-0 run to start last season came with beating four bad teams, a lucky break with Baltimore Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka missing an easy field goal attempt that would have changed the outcome of the game, and a grudge match against Green Bay.
Let’s see what Favre looks like after getting 10 days to practice for Miami. That’s followed by the Detroit Lions and then a bye week. The Vikings-Saints rematch was probably good for ratings, but realistically it was never likely to yield a memorable Favre game under these conditions. It certainly wouldn’t have last year.
UPDATE: Because Matt Stover is synonymous in my mind with the term “Ravens kicker,” this entry originally gave him the blame for Baltimore’s errant field goal attempt. Of course, it wasn’t Stover who missed the field goal at all but Steve Hauschka, the man the Ravens signed when they decided Stover was too old. Last year, Stover filled in admirably for Adam Vinateri of the Indianapolis Colts while Hauschka was released sometime in November and Baltimore’s kicking game declined.