Are you scared yet? Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse after the great Chad Pennington-Kellen Clemens debate of 2008, our New York Jets are in an even more complicated situation than anyone could have imagined.
Brett Favre’s plans loom ominously over Florham Park. Retirement is clearly the most significant topic at hand, mainly because no one knows what his decision means for the Jets.
If Favre chooses to return, does New York keep him at that $13 million salary and re-work everyone else to accomodate the gunslinger? And when the money is figured out, do the fans even want him to return?
The nine-interception stretch to close out the season was everyone’s worst nightmare. But the six-touchdown game against the Arizona Cardinals was a sign of what’s possible when Favre and friends can roll on all cylinders.
Assuming He Doesn’t Retire
If Favre opts to return in 2009, Rex Ryan has already established that the Jets will be a run-first team. This will not be a place for quarterback heroics, or game-changing turnovers.
And then Brett Favre will no longer be Brett Favre.
He will be in a game outside of his element—where he’s not asked to throw the ball 520+ times a season. He will be limited to all the things that made his fans fall in love with him to begin with.
It’d be like watching a child diagnosed with ADD after taking his first dosage of Ritalin: something’s just not right. It’s not the same.
A handcuffed Brett Favre is probably better than any option currently on the Jets roster, but is a handcuffed Favre worth the expense?
At $13 million do the Jets need to turn a future Hall of Fame QB into Trent Dilfer when a younger Kellen Clemens could probably do the same?
His reputed “fun-loving” nature wasn’t infectious in New York. He didn’t look like a kid out there in 2008.
Favre looked every bit his age. An offensive scheme that doesn’t revolve around him could knock a year or two off his age, keeping him fresh in case the playoffs become a reality.
Shut up, Jim Mora.
Assuming He Does Retire
Usher in the Kellen Clemens era! Or the Brett Ratliff era!… or the Erik Ainge era?
Clemens holds a special place in Jets’ fans hearts after an admirable performance against the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. A game that could’ve been won on a fourth-quarter comeback off the strength of his arm fell by the wayside because of drops that would’ve resulted in points.
Brett Ratliff is an exciting prospect after taking the preseason by storm with two electrifying performances. Accurate deep passes and high-velocity throws combined to make him the most popular backup quarterback in New York.
And Erik Ainge remained unknown courtesy of injuries throughout training camp. At 6-5, he has the size to be the prototypical quarterback. But he’s an unknown commodity.
Clemens is the runaway favorite given his starting experience, and the knowledge he’s gained playing behind two very good quarterbacks make him the safe choice.
Assuming he’s improved his decision-making and footwork since 2007, Clemens may very well be the best choice.
And you won’t find many people against it. Familiarity with Schottenheimer’s offense, Ryan’s determination to run first, and Clemens’ knowledge of the game could help him build a case as the best quarterback for the job this offseason.
Assuming the QB Is Not on the Roster
How keen will the Jets be to drafting another QB of the future? Is it even worth the time?
If none of the Jets current quarterbacks inspire confidence in the staff then all hope should not be lost. There are options at quarterback who aren’t on the wrong side of 30, and have experience as NFL starters.
Rumor has it that Derek Anderson could be had for a second-round draft choice from the Cleveland Browns. After being benched in 2008, it may seem like a step backwards for New York to consider the trade.
But Anderson has the skills to be a top QB. He’s done it before. His 2008 season was a series of unfortunate events. Dropped passes by his receivers and a season-ending injury sent Anderson to the sidelines twice in one year.
The fact that the Browns were expected to be Brady Quinn’s team sooner than later could have had an effect on his play as well. Could a change of scenery be what he needs most? An opportunity to play on a team that is his, and his alone?
If Anderson isn’t an option, Byron Leftwich will hit the free agent market after a successful year as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Fresh off a Super Bowl win, Leftwich stepped in for Big Ben in a few games and led the Steelers to victory.
If he’s exorcised the demons from his final year in Jacksonville and one whirlwind year with the Falcons, Leftwich could be had for cheap in New York. Or worst-case scenario, he becomes a high-quality insurance policy.
It’s not impossible to make a case for Rex Grossman either. He has a strong arm, and saw Super Bowl success in Chicago when he was asked to be the game-manager for a run-first team with Thomas Jones.
Not an exciting prospect, but worth the consideration? Absolutely.