Spotlight: Brett Favre

posted by Anthony Borbely on Jul 17th


Anthony Borbely's thoughts

At the time of this writing, everything I have seen suggests that Brett Favre will return to the Vikings this year. Obviously, none of us can read minds, so we have to use the reports as a guide and since Favre had ankle surgery, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that he will play this year. Everything written here assumes this will be the case.

After the 2008 season, there were many questions about the future of Favre. He played the worst football of his career in his one season with the Jets and many wondered if his career would be coming to an end. Favre put those concerns to rest in a big way last year as he had one of the best seasons of his long and storied career, finishing as the third-ranked fantasy QB with over 4200 yards and 33 TDs. Those are remarkable numbers for a 40-year-old QB. However, we should not be totally surprised seeing Favre play at a high level at his advanced age. Other than his season with the Jets, Favre has played solid football since turning 35 in the 2005 season. The question is can Favre continue to sidestep father time and make another run at a Super Bowl?

So why should we be optimistic about Favre this year?

Reason #1: Favre's numbers after age 35 are similar to his career stats

Let's take a look at Favre's average stats during his career and compare them to his averages over the last five years (2005-2009). I am not listing his first year when he failed to complete a pass. For reference, Favre was 35 years when the 2005 season started.

AvgStats Comps Atts Yards Y/A TDs Ints
Career 338 545 3852 7.1 27 18
Last5Years 355 562 3919 7.0 24 18

As you can see, Favre's numbers over the last five years have been remarkably similar to his career stats. When you consider those five seasons were all after he turned 35, it makes Favre's performance even more impressive. Basically, Favre's age has not had much effect on his play in recent years. However, Favre will be 41 during the season and he is obviously nearing the end of the line. The toughest thing is to predict when his play will begin to decline. I thought he was done after his season with the Jets and we saw how that prediction worked out.

Reason #2: Favre has a great supporting cast

This is a major reason for Favre's success last year and was something he lacked when he played for the Jets. Anytime you have a stud RB like Adrian Peterson behind you, it makes you a better QB. Defenses have to account for Peterson at all times and that opens up the field for the passing game. There, Favre has a couple of emerging young stars in WRs Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. With Peterson in the backfield, Rice and Harvin have more room to operate. Favre also has TE Visanthe Shiancoe, who is a great red zone target, and WR Bernard Berrien. Although Favre may not repeat the spectacular numbers he put up in 2009, there is little reason to expect a significant decline.

Reason #3: Favre's enthusiasm has not diminished

Do not underestimate the importance of this. Favre is an emotional player and he has been rejuvenated since coming to the Vikings. Playing with Peterson, Rice, and Harvin has made Favre feel like a kid again and knowing he has a real chance to win a Super Bowl makes it easier to deal with the aches and pains that a 41-year-old veteran QB will have.

The above all sounds well and good, but there are also a couple of issues on the other side of the coin that must be addressed.

Why should we be concerned about Favre this year?

Reason #1: Favre's body has taken a beating and he will turn 41 years old during the season

While Favre has not shown many signs of slowing down, the fact is that every player reaches a point where his body can no longer take the physical punishment that is delivered in an NFL game. Favre has battled injuries over the last several years and although they have never caused him to miss a game, the constant hits still take a toll on his body. There has to be concern because Favre does not play it safe and often will take a hit to make a play. Eventually, that will catch up to Favre as it does every player.

Reason #2: Favre's relationship with Brad Childress

While this does not appear to be anything major, the fact remains that Favre and Childress were at odds at times last year. Childress wanted to remove Favre during a game and Favre refused to come out. Favre has a huge ego and that could cause problems. If Favre or the Vikings struggle this year, this situation will be worth monitoring. I really am not too concerned, but it still bears mentioning.

Positives

  • Favre has been a QB1 in 16 of the last 18 seasons
  • The Vikings' skill players have elite talent
  • Favre is a great leader and his will to win is second to none

Negatives

  • Favre has had several injuries in recent years
  • At 41 years old, Favre could see a decline in his play with little notice
  • There are conflicting reports about the health of WR Sidney Rice

Final thoughts

Other than Favre's age, I really do not see many negatives. Favre had a spectacular season in 2009 and while 4200 passing yards and 33 TD passes may not happen again, Favre should still be able to post solid numbers as long as his body does not break down. Favre plays with reckless abandon and despite his Iron Man streak; injuries are a concern, especially at his advanced age. I expect a decline in his numbers from last year, but he should be able to maintain stats close to the average numbers he has posted throughout his career. Favre should be a solid low end QB1 and a great target for those who choose to wait on selecting a QB in their drafts this year. Just note that there is some risk due to his age.


Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

rzrback77 said:

Brett Favre has had two outstanding years out of the last three. I think that most would agree and give him a mulligan for his one JET season as he was not well and it just didn't work. His last four years stats are I will consider as I think that they tell a compelling strory of Favre and his legacy.

06 - GB 16 gms 343 of 613 56.0% 3885 yards 6.3 ypa 18 TDs and 18 ints
07 - GB 16 gms 356 of 535 66.5% 4157 yards 7.8 ypa 28 TDs and 15 ints
08 - NYJ 16 gms 343 of 522 65.7% 3472 yards 6.7 ypa 22 TDs and 22 ints
09 - MiN 16 gms 383 of 531 68.4% 4202 yards 7.9 ypa 33 TDs and 7 ints

Favre had spent 16 seasons in Green Bay, starting every game once he was took over as the starting QB in his first season there. He was Green Bay. However, his play seriously slipped in 05 and 06 where he had back to back years with a career low of 6.3 ypa in 06 and 6.4 the year before. The record in 05 fell to 4-12 and although it went back to 8-8 in 06, they failed to make the playoffs. The offseason retirement drama began to tire those life long supporters more and more. It all turned around in 07 as he completed over 66%, the ypa climbed back to 7.8 and the TDs were almost double the ints. The team also improved to 13-3 and won the division, then also won the Divisional playoff, before losing to the Giants 23-20 at home as Favre threw an interception to seal the loss.

His renewal process took two complete years and although most felt the old man had lost it in New York, he bounced back well a year ago, completing 68.4% of his passes for the third most yards in his long and distinguished career. HIs TD to interception ration climbed to 4.7:1 and his interceptions were a career low. He amazingly had that spark back and the Vikings had it as a team. I see no reason to doubt that he will not do it again. The risk of drafting him at QB 8 and 62 overall seems well worth the risk now in July and when redraft leagues hit their peak in late August, you will know for sure whether he will play (and he will) or not. He has outstanding weapons in Rice, Harvin, Berrian, Shiancoe, and Peterson and will definitely succeed if he plays.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

Farve will play. I look at Farve like a balloon. It takes a lot of air to blow up a 40 year old balloon, but it was as full as it could be in the NFC Championship game. He was ready to win that game and more than likely go on and beat the Colts as the Vikings looked to me to be the best team in the NFL at the end of last year. However, that balloon popped and it's going to take a lot of time to blow up to get that balloon anywhere near where it was during last year's playoff run. I think he goes for it one more time because of the young WRs, the strong defense, the good offensive line and talented Rbs he's working with.

Footballguys Staff Writer David Yudkin said:

I think age, injuries, and declining skills/decision-making all catch up to Favre this year. He played better than could be expected last year, and this year a lot more things will go wrong.


Brett Favre projections

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