Thursday, December 29, 2005

Will QB Brett Favre play his last game on Sunday? It seemed like Favre wanted to retire after last season, but his wife and family encouraged him to continue playing. I remember seeing his mom interviewed on ESPN and she was positive he would return for 2005 because she couldn't imagine him doing anything else. If Favre does retire, he should retire because the game has mentally worn him out. His awful 2005 is not entirely his fault and he still has the physical ability and health to play in 2006.

Favre has thrown more interceptions than ever by forcing the ball downfield and trying to make something happen. He has made a number of bad decisions this season, but that is how he has played throughout his career and he rarely throws the ball away. He said "the problem is that we're not good enough to overcome those mistakes that I make, where in the past maybe we were able to." The running game has struggled, the defense has forced far too few turnovers, and the special teams has been MIA all season. Favre should try to cut back on the number of mistakes and his turnovers have single-handedly lost games, but the entire team is responsible for the bad season and has not allowed Favre any room for error.

Although Favre has said he trusts his teammates, he doesn't seem comfortable throwing to WR Antonio Chatman or WR Andrae Thurman. He has thrown a lot of passes to WR Robert Ferguson this season and bad things seem to happen. Thompson and Mike Sherman (if Sherman is allowed to return in 2006) need to improve the talent at receiver or improve Favre's comfort level with the receivers he has. Favre knew he wanted WR Donald Driver to start back in 2001 when the Packers still insisted starting washed up WRs Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder. If the Packers aren't listening to Favre's opinion regarding his current receivers, then they should start.

How bad has Favre been this season? His QB rating of 70.5 puts him down with the likes of QBs Aaron Brooks and Gus Frerotte. However Favre's QB rating climbed each of the previous three seasons (2002-2004), which indicates that this season is a fluke. Why has his QB rating fallen so far in 2005? His completion percentage is almost identical to his career percentage and his yards/game is above his career average. Obviously his career record interceptions are largely to blame. Another big problem is that Favre is having trouble throwing TD passes when the Packers are inside the 20 yard line. Missing TE Bubba Franks is a big part of the problem. However, the biggest and usually overlooked reason is the season ending injury to RB Ahman Green. Despite the struggles Green had while he was playing this season, Favre had 14 TDs and 8 INTs in during the 6 games Green played, and has thrown 5 TDs and 20 INTs in the 9 games without Green. Has any defense really been concerned about stopping RB Samkon Gato? Teams would be concerned with Green, but all the attention must have switched to stopping Favre since Green's season ended.

GM Ted Thompson said the team wants Favre back, but he probably has to say that. It was one thing for him to force FS Darren Sharper out last offseason, but it seems unlikely that the first year GM has the clout to release Favre if Favre wants to return in 2006.

Thompson struck out in his first attempt to replace LG Mike Wahle and RG Marco Rivera this season. If the Packers can fix the interior of the offensive line and RB Ahman Green comes back to full strength in 2006 (unlikely) or Thompson can add a new running back in the draft (such as Minnesota RB Laurence Maroney), then the offense has no excuses in 2006. The return of WR Javon Walker and TE Bubba Franks can only help. If the offense recovers from all the ineffective play and injuries that plagued them in 2006 and Favre struggles continue, then it will be time for him to retire. If Favre wants the opportunity, then he deserves another chance.

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