Favre should start against Giants and T-Jack should supplement [UPDATE]
Leslie Frazier is off to a sound, 2-0 start as interim head coach of the Vikings. Yet his most impressive moment to date at the Purple helm may have occurred beyond the gridiron.
In the press conference after Sunday's 38-14 win over Buffalo, Frazier deftly avoided the folly committed by many a rookie coach -- and concurrently showed the necessary personality divide between himself and his predecessor -- when the questions turned to Brett Favre:
"If the doctor says he's fine, he's functional and Brett feels good about it, it won't be a hard decision."
"I talked with him just a little bit earlier today and we were just talking about his health and just seeing where he was. He probably won't practice [Wednesday] but we'll get a chance to see how he looks on Thursday and just try to make a determination based on that, you know, how things will look for Sunday. But we're all hoping that he'll be healthy enough to play. He's still a great quarterback and if he's able to play it gives us a great chance to win against New York."
Frazier then concluded:
"Brett's our starting quarterback and if he's healthy, I mean, he's gonna be out there. If there's any definition of an Iron Man, it would be Brett Favre. I mean, it's incredible what he's accomplished in his career. For a quarterback to play that many consecutive games? I don't think that's a streak that will ever be broken. But he can still play at a high level and there's no question in my mind, if he's healthy he'll lead us to a win on Sunday."
In a word: Perfect. It's little surprise that the Denver Broncos are rumored to be (again) expressing interest in Frazier after firing Josh McDaniels this week. Not only is the interim head winning on the field -- he sounds like he knows exactly what he's doing.
By instantly declaring Favre his starter if healthy (and we all know he will be), Frazier avoided the QB controversy that was sure to ensue for a team finally playing with some consistent swagger, and he also showed veteran players (not just Favre) the respect they deserve. That's the difference between a coach who played in the NFL and one who didn't. And just to be clear: there's no way in Ragnarian Hell that Favre won't play on Sunday after suffering a sprained sternoclavicular joint on his first pass attempt versus the Bills (curiously, the first time he's suffered such injury). The dude isn't going to start 297 consecutive regular season games only to evidence some wilt with four to play in his career. It was reported after Wednesday's practice that Favre will indeed get some work in on Thursday and then be reevaluated on Friday.
UPDATE: Reports from Winter Park on Thursday noted that Favre went through the team walkthrough in the morning, but did not practice during the afternoon portion of the day open to media. Favre was seen tossing some football left-handed, but did nothing with his right arm. Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that Favre had made some progress with his injured shoulder, but labeled him a game-time decision for Sunday.
Yet, while T-Jack will very likely regain his clipboard status after a decent performance last weekend the guy has proven that -- while he remains inconsistent -- he is indeed an asset. As Mark Craig aptly observed in the Strib earlier this week: the Vikings have no cemented quarterback option after this season and Jackson is an unrestricted free agent who has lost what most believed to be his biggest backer in Brad Childress. It's vital for the Purple -- a playoff longshot at 5-7 -- to see a lil' more (and updated) proof-of-purchase with T-Jack; to further gather what he may have learned as Favre's understudy.
By giving Jackson 10 snaps per game for the final four contests of the season, Frazier would
evidence continued head coaching acumen by giving the Vikings a strategy edge and adding another weapon to an offense that averages just 18.9 points per game (27th in the league). Opponents haven't seen such a formation -- it's akin to a pitcher/batter mindset in baseball: the hitter's objective is to find comfort; the pitcher's objective is to keep him uncomfortable. Hell, maybe T-Jack would hand off eight of those times, but the opposition doesn't know that.
The graybeard is gonna finish this marathon even it is means he crosses the finish line wrapped in duct tape and filled with a bucket of Cortizone. But that doesn't mean the youngster can spell him for a few sprints along the way. The tortoise won the race of course, and that will prove the case this season. But if Favre's body can take all those hits, then his ego can suffer a few knocks from this impressively-patient hare.
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