[Note by Skin Patrol, 07/14/08 8:16 PM EDT ]
Readers are once again encouraged to check out Ben's Redskins Blog, The Curly R, on a daily basis. There is a reason it sits at the top of my Blogroll. Many thanks many times over to Ben for helping tend shop in my absence.
Which Brett Favre is still in there?
Brett Favre is coming out of a four month retirement and wants his unconditional release from Green Bay. They do not want to give it to him. Should be interesting.
Via Will at Hogs Haven a week ago a press release from an offshore casino appeared on a free PR site betting that Brett would not land with the Minnesota Vikings but rather with the Washington Redskins.
I think this could work.
Though I may be in the minority. This post at Hogs Haven by mmford10 was up twelve hours after the news and, the comments trended against the idea early and then the thread became about Jason Campbell, not Brett Favre. That was totally predictable.
For the Redskins this could be an historic opportunity. It may play some havoc with the team yes, that is nothing new for Redskins fans. Disruption has been the norm under Dan Snyder, the difference, now before us is a disruption that could be good for the team now and later. Here is my argument:
1. It's Brett Favre. A sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. No one ever thought he would be available. Now that he is, you talk to him. Just to see what he is looking for. It's Brett freaking Favre. We all know he can still play.
2. The new Redskins offense. What Brett ran in Green Bay and what Jim Zorn brings to the Redskins come from the same source, Mike Holmgren. Brett would have a short learning curve and it would get the new offense humming from the start.
3. The old Redskins offense. The Redskins offense is tooled to win now, it is full of veterans, the line should be healthy back from injuries and if they can play like 2006 that would be great for the running game, west coast offense or not you still have to run the ball in the NFC Beast. Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Chris Cooley and the New Guys are plenty of weapons through the air.
4. The Redskins defense. Turns out the transition from last year to this year should be pretty smooth after all. Even if they slip ten places the team will still be in the top half of the league. A good defense gives new offenses and new players breathing room.
5. It's a tradition. Brett Favre would not be the first high profile Packer to come to Washington. After the 1967 NFL season, Vince Lombardi stepped down as head coach of the Green Bay Packers and after a brief quote retirement unquote from coaching, he took the Packers' general manager position for one season in 1968 before getting restless and coming back to coaching with the Redskins. Prior to the 1969 season the Redskins had not had a winning campaign in 14 years. Under Vince they went 7-5-2, by 1971 George Allen was in place and the team went on to nine straight winning seasons.
The value proposition: it has to cost little or nothing. Ideally the Packers will release Brett after he promises not to sign with a division rival. Frankly I have a hard time seeing Brett play for the Vikings but I digress. If the team demands a trade then it should cost the Redskins not higher than a third round pick, even though it's Brett Favre the team cannot sacrifice any serious portion of the long term future for a player that will give the Redskins one, maybe two shots at the Super Bowl.
The impacts: the elephant in the room here is obviously Jason Campbell, the Redskins starting quarterback, a first round pick himself that cost the team three draft picks in trade to acquire. In the long run, bringing Brett Favre in may be good for Jason Campbell's career. Or it may begin the door closing on what was never going to work out in the first place. Follow me here.
In the first place, there is no shame in being Jason Campbell if you get benched for Brett Favre, that's not a lack of confidence in Jason, that's just taking advantage of an unbelieveable opportunity, if one of the greatest ever in your professional field were suddenly available and your company hired him and he happened to do your job, you could hardly fault the company, it just makes good business sense. Jason is a big boy, if Vinny Cerrato walks into Jason's house this week and tells him Jason will be backing up Brett Favre this year, Jason can not only take it, he may jump up and hug Vinny.
Second, Jason Campbell's position with this team in the long run is still very much open to question. Jason has shown the skills and the potential to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL, he has never lit us up and what we may still be interpreting as growing pains may simply be Jason's limitations. As Randy Cross likes to say on Sirius NFL Radio, that the guy you see early is pretty much the guy you will see always. Players can improve at the edges, rarely do we see a guy go from average to great.
This is not to say Jason is not a starting caliber quarterback. If the Redskins have a good plan they do not need the best QB to make it work. The team could well be successful within Jason's limits, I mean come on this team won Super Bowls with Mark Rypien and Joe Thiesmann, good QBs, not all time greats.
If Brett Favre were to come and wear number four (sorry Derrick Frost, with Durant Brooks and all, this could be a bad training camp experience for you) here in Washington, it would mean Jason would be the backup. It would give him a full year to get familiar with Jim Zorn's offense, I for one along with Rich Tandler and Will-A have plenty of questions as to whether Jason can be a reliable executor of this offense a) now, b) ever. From watching as much football as I have, I am not sure Jason is physically or mentally the type of QB for this type of system. Then again I did not think Steve Young would be successful after Joe Montana and did not envision Donovan McNabb as a west coast quarterback either.
In any event, a full year to learn the system without having to run it on game day might be conducive to Jason digesting the system and being better prepared when his number is called.
True, the Redskins would not get value from Jason's contract this year, which according to PC's awesome contract page, runs through 2010. Brett has a chance to come in and make a run at a title for a season or two then the team gets to decide whether they have seen enough out of Jason Campbell to merit re signing him to a long term deal as the franchise starter.
So this is not just about Brett Favre. All that money and those draft picks spent on Jason Campbell, that's all sunk cost. Jason is either going to be the team's long term solution or he is not, as commenter Allskins at Hogs Haven wrote yesterday, Patrick Ramsey was also a first round pick future of the franchise guy.
The odd man out in this scenario is Todd Collins, who though signed to a two year deal is nothing more than insurance anyway. Colt Brennan will get a look as number three, he is a Jim Zorn pick and with or without Brett Favre, Colt will be salted away to see if he can run this team. If he can, if he has the chops to be an NFL quarterback in this type of system, Jason Campbell may be out in two seasons anyway.
This team is ready to win now. The offensive line should be back, how many more seasons do they have in the tank? How about Clinton Portis? Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are ready to win now. Chris Cooley is in the prime of his career. There is veteran leadership on a defense peppered with young players, stewardship of the team from old to young has to start happening in the next two to three seasons. Two or three seasons I'd rather not see an offense and a QB getting up to speed, getting untracked, whatever.
Jim Zorn's offense would be friendly to Brett. Let's see what it can do now and now wait until 2010.
Compostite image by me. Brett Favre left image from here, Brett Favre right image from here.