Why Brett Favre wouldn’t be my quarterback

Oct 12, 2010, 7:00 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

By Mike Salk

After arguing with Brock today and hearing comments back from many of you, I feel the need to clarify my position on Brett Favre (the quarterback, not the alleged sexter/harasser).

I have said before that Favre is not the kind of quarterback I want on my team. That is to say that if I were building a team from scratch, he would not be my first choice. He wouldn’t be my last choice either! I’m not blind in my sports-hate for Favre; I recognize that he has a ton of wins for a reason. But he’s not the guy I would want and it’s not just because of his age. It’s because of his personality.

I know, I know. That sounds insane. But I don’t mean his all-American, Wrangler Jeans, “aw shucks” persona we see in press conferences and commercials. That stuff is fine. I mean the gunslinger. I mean the guy that believes he is so good and has such a strong arm and is such a great playmaker that he can throw the ball wherever he wants.

In order to understand why Favre doesn’t fit into my system, you need to understand what I want from my quarterback. I believe that the most important thing in football is to control the ball long enough to score. I’d always take a ball thrown away over an interception. Most times, I’d take a surefire short gain over a risky long one. I understand that an offense needs playmakers and even to stretch the field, but I’d try to make my deep throws as risk-free as possible, and I’d let my wide receivers, running backs and tight ends make the plays once they already have the ball in their hands. So, my quarterback must have the ability to throw accurate, short passes and find the open man at all times. He needs to be humble enough to throw the ball away when there is no play (or at least be REALLY sure when he takes a calculated risk). And he needs to be able to lead his team down the field at the end of games and make the big play at that point in the game.

There are two ways to turn the ball over to the opponent: interceptions and fumbles. In my opinion, it’s easier to control the risk of interceptions than fumbles. The less time the ball is in the air, the smaller chance it has of being picked off by the defense. So how do I get the ball in the hands of the playmakers in the safest way? Get them the ball with short, safe passes and let their playmaking ability take over once the ball is safely in their hands. Sure, they might fumble. But that’s harder for me to control than the interceptions.

We are seeing this trend all over the NFL as coaches and analysts more and more stress the importance of yards after catch (YAC). Give me the quarterback who is comfortable in that short passing game, and I think I’ll succeed.

The problem with Brett Favre, is that ultimately he is not satisfied with that. He can’t just throw running back screens, slip screens, bubble screens and dump passes. He can’t just accept the short pass when he sees a small window he thinks he can put a ball through. The real shame is that sometimes he actually can get that ball into the tight window and so he becomes emboldened to try it again and eventually he does it in the clutch and ends up throwing a huge interception in a big spot.

That’s precisely what I’m trying to avoid!

Look, Brett Favre is talented. I’m not blind to his arm strength, accuracy and escapability. His competitiveness is off the charts. But his decision making counteracts some of those attributes. I understand if you see the strengths and they make you forget the problems. And obviously Favre has won more than his share of games. But try to understand my feeling that while Favre is the best of the gunslingers, he doesn’t fit the way much of the NFL is headed.

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

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