wine by the color

Friday, May 15, 2009

I know it's only May but can we talk a little football?

Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback remains one of my favorite reads, even in the off-season. This past Monday, he rated all 32 teams as he currently sees them, from first to worst.

This seems about right for the Jets (although this ongoing nonsense with Leon Washington and Thomas Jones is troubling)...

16. New York Jets
They were 8-3 last year after 12 weeks with a quarterback playing well but not great, and they only fell off the face of the earth because Favre couldn't throw well down the stretch. The key will be whether Mark Sanchez can adapt to Brian Schottenheimer's offense and digest it in time to play very early, like opening day. Because what coach Rex Ryan is aiming for is clear. Speaking of Ryan, the Jets will be a fun team to watch because he's going to make some lesser lights shine in roles they've never played before. It's a fun defense, and his troops will eat it up. I could see the Jets anywhere between 6-10 and 11-5.

But the real shocker of this list came at #32, when King picked the Cleveland Browns to finish DFL, behind even the winless-in-2008 Detroit Lions. Depressing.

King also relayed the following anecdote about the new Jets QB:

I continue to be amazed at the response. The other night, my phone rang. "Mr. King,'' the voice said, "it's Mark Sanchez.'' Stop with the Mr. King business, I interrupted. Then he said he'd read about the benefit for Zim and wanted to know what he could do. This is Mark Sanchez, hardly a child of the Zim generation. Zim was writing Super Bowl game stories glorifying Joe Montana when Sanchez wasn't even in the womb yet. Sanchez wondered if he could do anything, and I said, "Well, a signed jersey would be nice.'' And so it happened, and you can visit our auction site,, today and bid for the jersey.

And speaking of Jets quarterbacks, then (pause so I can take a deep breath), there was this...

6. I think I don't have much illuminating to say about Brett Favre, the will-he-or-won't-he man of the moment, because the cake's still in the oven. It's not done yet. Favre has not decided yet whether to play.

A couple of important points: The right biceps near his throwing shoulder isn't right, dating to last year with the Jets. He also has to decide that he'd want to train the way he did two years ago, when he had a live-in trainer for much of two months at his home in southern Mississippi.

I feel sure the Vikings want him and will put up with this long hiccup, regardless of the outcome. If they think he can be healthy come August, and he wants to play, they'll have him. And if Favre feels that by August he could play with no pain in the shoulder -- either after having surgery or it going away naturally -- it's likely he'll play. No matter what is said this week, it's not over now. Even if Favre says he's decided not to play, it's not over, because he's ruled by emotion.

Now, could the Vikings tell him no thanks, unwilling to be held hostage by the emotion of the moment? Yes, of course. But they shouldn't. What Brad Childress should do right now, simply, is tell his quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, "Look, we're exploring signing Brett Favre. The guy was playing well last year 'til he hurt his arm, and we owe it to the organization to cover our bases here. So just keep working, and I'll keep you posted on what happens.''

Then he should announce that the Vikings are going to give Favre the time he needs to see if he wants to play and can get healthy enough to play, and then the Vikings will see if it's a smart idea for the franchise to make a deal with him, and everyone's just going to have to be patient while this process plays out.

And then...

7. I think you might be wondering how two news organizations, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, could have such disparate stories 24 hours apart last week. Yahoo's report said Favre called Childress and told him he's not playing. ESPN's said Favre will play if his shoulder's right.

Having been around Favre a lot over the last decade, I can tell you why these stories happen, and why there's a very good chance both are correct: Because it's hard for him to make up his mind (no crap, Sherlock!), and he keeps his own counsel a good deal of the time, and there are very few "sources close to Favre'' who have a good idea what he's planning to do at a given moment -- and even then, he could change his mind about what he's likely to do.

Good example: Last year, I sat with him for a few hours five days before he signed with the Jets. It was a discussion about everything -- playing, not playing, venom about the Packers' decision to not allow him to come back or start or release him. And when I walked away from that meeting with him, I remember telling someone who knew I'd been around him, "He's going to play hardball with the Packers for a few weeks, at least. One of the reasons is he doesn't want to go to the two teams that want him -- the Bucs or Jets.'' I told a beat-guy friend of mine covering the story: "He's not going to the Jets.'' Eleven days later, he's posing with a Jets' jersey at a press conference. Moral of the story (painful for me because I'm supposed to know the guy, and I keep getting his fate wrong): Write your stories about Favre with a big eraser on the end of your pencil.

People, brace yourselves for a big break-up between me and His Holiness. It's coming, and it is NOT going to be pretty...


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