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News » Can Favre pull a Montana for the Jets? 2008-10-26

Can Favre pull a Montana for the Jets? 2008-10-26

Can Favre pull a Montana for the Jets? 2008-10-26
As Sebastian Janikowski's overtime 57-yard field goal last Sunday inched closer to it's destination, Brett Favre and the Jets Nation realized their record would be no better than .500. Three-up, three-down was not what Jets' fans hoped for when the team acquired the legendary quarterback.

A future Hall of Famer finishing out a long career in a new uniform is hardly a new circumstance in the NFL. But seeing one play well is about as rare as Mike Shanahan putting on some sunscreen.

NFL Week 8

Week 8 action

    Cowboys 13, Bucs 9 -- Recap | Box
    Panthers 27, Cardinals 23 -- Recap | Box
    Eagles 27, Falcons 14 -- Recap | Box
    Patriots 23, Rams 16 -- Recap | Box
    Redskins 25, Lions 17 -- Recap | Box
    Saints 37, Chargers 32 -- Recap | Box
    Ravens 29, Raiders 10 -- Recap | Box
    Dolphins 25, Bills 16 -- Recap | Box
    Jets 28, Chiefs 24 -- Recap | Box
    Texans 35, Bengals 6 -- Recap | Box
    Browns 23, Jaguars 17 -- Recap | Box
    Giants 21, Steelers 14 -- Recap | Box
    Seahawks 34, 49ers 13 -- Recap | Box
    Colts at Titans -- Preview | Notes


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But it's not unprecedented, especially for Kansas City — the Jets' lightly regarded opponent this week. As Favre suits up to play the Chiefs on Sunday, I'm reminded of the same path Joe Montana took 15 years ago.

Like Favre, Montana made his name with a prominent NFC franchise, winning four Super Bowls with the 49ers in the 1980s. Although not as famous for it, Montana, like Favre, played the game with an innocent enthusiasm not always apparent in today's landscape chock full of robotic quarterbacks.

"Joe was Peter Pan ... On the football field he was just a kid," said Carmen Policy, former 49ers President. "I think that's why his teammates loved him."

Their love for and success in football was similar, their departure from the teams that made their names famous wasn't. While Favre's was very public, Montana approached an offseason trade in '93 much more quietly.

While Montana waited, so did Chiefs President Carl Peterson, hoping that 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo would sign off on releasing the 15-year veteran. But much like Packers GM Ted Thompson did with Favre, Policy wanted to make sure the 49ers received more than just a Christmas card for a legendary quarterback that had gas left in the tank.

"(The Chiefs) played on Eddie, thinking he would just release him," Policy told me last summer. "But we weren't about to just let Joe Montana go ... I asked for two first-round picks."

Ultimately, Peterson would give up a first and Montana would repay that gamble by carrying Kansas City to the '93 AFC Championship game. Montana played at a high level both seasons he was there, although he struggled to stay healthy.

While Favre has stayed in the lineup, his leadership as well as his performance has come under question in recent weeks.

As bad as they've been, one would think the terrible Chiefs would do all the heavy lifting helping Favre get on track. In this week's Film Study, we'll see if the Chiefs have any chance of stopping the Jet offense and making a game of it.

Film study

How do you take the pressure off your good, but aging, quarterback? Run the rock.

Tied 3-3 at halftime against the Raiders last week, the offense didn't accomplished much with head coach Eric Mangini and assistant Bill Callahan calling runs on 15 of the first 20 plays of the second half.

But a problem arose from this strategy: New York has won this year when Favre has made big plays in the passing game, producing a video-game QB rating in the process. Sure, the ground game has produced at times this season, but too many drives die once they get inside the opponent's 30. In fact, the running game's best performances have come in loses ... when Favre hasn't been on his game.

This game followed suit as the offense stalled on the first couple drives before finally getting a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In the first half, a promising Jets possession fueled by running back Thomas Jones was nuked by a Favre interception in the end zone. It's great to run the ball well, but not if it's only getting the team from the 20-to-20.

While the Jets were having trouble closing the deal, hours earlier in Kansas City the Titans' running attack was damn near perfect in producing touchdowns. That took the burden off Tennessee's own veteran quarterback, Kerry Collins. Nothing the Chiefs did could stop running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White, who piled up more than 300 yards between them.

When I reviewed the tape, I noticed that even when the Chiefs brought linebackers up, giving them at least five on the line, they were still getting knifed. In fact, putting Demorrio Williams or Derrick Johnson on the line actually made it worse at times.

Taking a linebacker away from the second line of defense by putting him up on the line makes it easier for backs to bust a huge one up the gut. The Titans offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and White or Johnson would be in the secondary before you could say "Marco Polo."

Exhibit A: White's 80-yard run shown on all the highlight shows. LenDale isn't exactly swift on his feet; it took him a while to go 80.

Derrick Johnson made several tackles, but too often he, Williams or some other out-of-position Chief (Jarrod Page) were either getting caught up at the line, or taking bad angles on the Darrell Green-esque speed of Chris Johnson. At times they underestimated how quickly he could get past the first level of defense.

The Chiefs young defensive line came out slow and outmatched. First-round pick Glenn Dorsey needs to make a bigger impact. He will be a great player, but it needs to happen by week nine, not 2009.

The Jets aren't scoring points when their run game produces and the Chiefs can't stop hemorrhaging points when the other team's ground attack works. Something's got to give.

What I learned

The Chiefs should play a lot of base defense. Don't sell out stopping the run as that hasn't worked much better than playing a straight 4-3. Bend, but don't break.

If possible, throw Favre off by mixing man-to-man with Cover Two zone while blitzing sparingly. That's exactly what the Patriots and Raiders did in wins against the Jets. The Chiefs' secondary has played better than expected at times despite starting two rookies in Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers at corner.

If playing coverage — and not eight in the box — allows Jones to have a good game, so be it. Despite being productive last week, the Jets' running game should not be confused with the Titans. Jones has never had an 80-yard run, or anything close.

Allowing field goals is more desirable than, say, letting Favre pull a Montana by throwing 40-yard Nerf spirals to receivers running gleefully down the seam.

The Chiefs' offense puts the defense in a hole by doing nothing on opening drives. Edwards needs to try something different: have Tyler Thigpen come out throwing (gulp), run some end-arounds with Dwayne Bowe. Heck, try a Triple Lindy — anything to give his defense a cushion.

Or send Joe a text.

Pick: Jets (I know, I'm weak.)

Odds and ends

  • Tom Cable looks like the guy that would sell you after-market dash carpet for an '88 Corolla, but congratulations to him for picking up a big W.
  • I think the Chiefs, and the league, miss Priest Holmes right about now.
  • Flozell Adams Watch: Rough game for the whole Cowboys O-line. Neither Adams nor fellow tackle Marc Colombo played well. However, Big Flo' was reportedly seen throwing passes the other day.

  • Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: October 26, 2008

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