Transcript of Brett Favre's weekly news conference with Jets reporters before Wednesday's midday practice:
On if Sunday's game will be strange playing the Patriots without QB Tom Brady…
Yes, it will. I know he started, what, over a hundred games straight? He has been the face of that team for quite a while. It will be different.
On looking at his own streak of consecutive starts…
It just goes to show you. Tom has been so tough throughout his whole career. He has taken a lot of hits. It just goes to show you that you never know. I know he knows that. I know we all know that. It was just a freak thing, it really was. It could have happened to me. I've come close numerous times, not only with my legs but fingers. You just never know.
On which injury put his streak at risk the most…
If I had to look back and if you would have told me prior to the injury which one would have kept me out, a broken thumb on my throwing hand. I would have said there's no way I can play with a broken thumb.
On when he broke his thumb…
I played nine games with a splint on my thumb [in 2003]. I did it the third play against St. Louis, in St. Louis.
On the Green Bay-Minnesota Monday night game and comparison of NFC North rivalries with the AFC East…
I watched a little bit of that game the other night. I missed the first part. That rivalry has kind of resurfaced a little bit, Vikings-Packers, over the last few years. It's a good one. A lot like the Bears and Vikings and the Bears and Packers. That division, period.
In this division, this is my first Jets-Patriots game. The Patriots really have had the upper hand on everybody in this division for quite a while. They've really dominated everyone, not just in this division. We'd like to change that. The thing about this game is that they come and go. The rivalries kind of remain the same but depending on where they stand as far as record is concerned and where they stand in the division, it obviously makes a difference. It carries more weight one year to the next.
It's like talking about the Miami-Jets game last week. Of course, there was a lot of [Ken] O'Brien and [Dan] Marino — I'm kind of aging myself a little bit — but there's been some great rivalries. We'd like to change that this week. Of course, it's easier said than done. We'll try to get the upper hand but they've had the upper hand for quite a while. I think there are some good rivalries in this division.
On his experiences playing against the Patriots defense…
The Jets and Patriots really put a whuppin' on us that year . The 3-4 defense gave us a lot of problems in Green Bay. We just never faced it. On top of that, their personnel is very good. They present problems. A lot like when we played Dallas last year, their front seven gives you a lot of fits.
They're very smart in the back end. You have Rodney Harrison, who is one of the smarter players in the league. You have [Tedy] Bruschi, who is one of the smartest players in the league. You have [Mike] Vrabel, who is one of the smartest players in the league. They've been in that defense for a while, they've played together and they kind of orchestrate the whole thing.
Then their front guys, they rush the passer, they bull-rush. They're hard to run against. They present a lot of problems. You have to try to double-team. It's one of those deals: Who do you double-team? You can't double everyone. They're extremely good at their scheme, knowing where to be, reading what you're doing, pattern-reading and things like that. They're just savvy. It's not that you're going to outsmart them. You have to outplay them. That's easier said than done.
On getting comfortable with 3-4 schemes…
It all comes down to execution. When you break down what they're doing, they give you a lot of looks, but for the most part it's simple. I mean that with the utmost respect for those guys. They try to show you all this exotic stuff, but when you break it down, four guys rush.
Now, which four remains to be seen. It just comes down to execution. Knowing what they're doing, handling it and playing at a high level is something totally different. I'm sure every team goes into a game saying, "Hey, we have to run the ball first, we have to handle their front seven." What happens after the game? They didn't do it. If you can't do that, it's hard to throw in the back end because they don't give up big plays.
On playing against intelligent players…
I'd like to think every time I step on the field I have the upper hand in that area. That's not always the case. I think everybody who has played this game long enough knows what I'm talking about. I've played going on 18 years. I've seen everything. People say, "He's seen everything, so he's going to be hard to scheme against." Sometimes that works against you because you've seen it so many times that you kind of revert back to something you've seen in the past instead of just playing it out.
The same goes for those guys: "OK, I know Favre, he'll do this, he'll throw it here, he'll do that." You still have to play the game.
I always have the saying that you can outsmart yourself when scheming against certain teams and scheming against certain players: "I know they're going to do that." They're saying, "I know he's going to do that." You say, "OK, we have to change and do that." Before you know it, you lose sight of the most important thing, and that's just playing and reacting. I always say reaction is probably the best thing as a player you can have.
You're coached up on what you think you'll see or how Mike Vrabel will play or Bruschi. The bottom line is: How do you react if they do something different? That, to me, is the most important thing. In a game like this, that's what is most important is to just react to what they show you. Don't get too caught up in tendencies of what Vrabel or Bruschi or Rodney is going to give you. They're going to give you a lot of stuff.
Bill [Belichick] is telling those guys the same thing, to just play your game, play your defense. Don't worry about what he's doing or their team or what they're saying. The bottom line is what we're doing. That's so important.
On learning the offense and calling plays in the huddle…
That's a little bit different. For me, this is a totally new offense. The concepts for the most part are the same. I'm still thinking when I leave the huddle, "Are we lined up correctly?" I'm asking myself that. The play is coming in, you have 18 seconds left before you have to snap it and we haven't even broke the huddle yet. Or a play is coming in and it's sort of confusing, we get cut off, and sometimes you just have to react, you have to make plays. You would much rather not have to do that on a consistent basis.
There is no way we can win if we have to go for it on fourth-and-13 like we did last week or if you have to call "Same play" in the huddle and hope that we line up and run it correctly. You just can't win that way. We did the other day, but we have to be more efficient, the way it's supposed to be done. That starts with me. At least we have one under our belt. We'll see where we go next.
I think he's one hell of a coach. I'm not inventing the wheel here — the guy has been pretty good. He has always overcome adversity. Somehow, some way, he has always had his guys believe that they can overcome adversity. To say that this is the biggest adversity they have faced yet, I would say yes.
When they lost [Drew] Bledsoe, I'm sure everyone thought, "Whatever chances we had are over and done with." Now, look what happened. Tom has been so great for that team. You always knew having him in the game that you were going to win and he was going to be so productive. That's like playing the Rams that year in the Super Bowl. No one gave them a chance, including me. They won the game.
The thing about Bill: Don't ever bet against him. Like you said, I think he's a great schemer. Just a few times I've had success against his teams. There has been more times than not that they've had the upper hand on us or teams that I've quarterbacked. He'll find a way to get those guys to rally around Matt [Cassel] and he's probably telling them, "No one gives you a chance now." They're still pretty darn good.
On if Brady's injury puts more pressure on the Jets since they've been called the team to beat…
I haven't heard that. I haven't heard that we're the team to beat. I think the Patriots are still the team to beat until proven otherwise. We won one game. We barely beat Miami. Miami played their hearts out. We did, too. We made a lot of mistakes. We found a way to win it. It came down to one play. Chad [Pennington] played great. We could easily be sitting here saying, "What if, and what kind of chances do you feel you have now against the Patriots?"
We're not the team to beat. This team was 4-12 last year. The Patriots have dominated. As I said earlier, they have dominated this division as well as this league for a long time. One game doesn't make us the team to beat. I sure hope people don't feel that way.
Does it give us a chance? A better chance, maybe. I think anytime you're not facing Tom Brady; it gives you a better chance. I'm just giving him the respect he deserves. The guy has been outstanding, as good as anyone that has ever played the game. Matt Cassel played great the other day when he came in. They assume he will do that. Tom Brady is Tom Brady. So that does give us a better chance.
Ultimately, it comes down to how we, offensively, handle their defense. That hasn't been very good in the past. We hope that changes. And you still have to stop Randy Moss, you still have to stop Wes Welker. Their running game with [Laurence] Maroney, [Sammy] Morris and [Kevin] Faulk. Their offensive line is outstanding. They still have a lot of great players. Bill Belichick is one of the best, if not the best coach, in football right now.
I don't see how people can say we're the team to beat. I think we have a better chance, given the circumstances, but we still have a long way to go. We have to play better than we did the other day for us to not only beat New England but to get to where we want to be.
On his relationship with Eric Mangini…
We're 1-0, so it's been going great [laughs].
He's very, very unassuming and mild-mannered. He never raises his voice, but he gets his point across. One of the first things I told him when I got here, I said, "I'm amazed at how many guys practice here." There are one or two guys maybe at the most who sit out of practice. Everyone practices. Do they moan and complain and grumble afterwards? Yes, we all do. But they all practice and practice a certain way.
He addresses things in our team meeting every morning and pulls up film of things that we did well in the game or in practice. Also, he addresses things we didn't do as well. The point is across of what is expected of us. The old saying "the player's coach," whatever that may be, he'll come up to me — I've heard him talk to numerous guys — "What can we do as far as meetings? How can we make practice a little more fun?" He's willing to give a little bit.
What he asks in return, from what I see, guys are giving him. You ultimately judge by wins and losses. He knows that as well as anyone. The way he handles himself, he kind of relies on the team to police themselves. I was asking a question to one of the security guards the other day. I said, "Do they give us wakeup calls when we're on the road?" I've never needed one, but most guys would sleep in if they could. The response to me was, "No, they have to know themselves."
He asks a lot of you. He's willing to give. To me, that's the best way to do it. I know how to practice. I know what's expected of me. Am I going to be perfect? No. If I'm not sure what we're supposed to be doing, I'm going to find out somehow, some way. Really, that's the way we should all handle it. He's going to address things that he sees are not getting addressed by the players.
On if Mangini treats Favre with more respect because of his time in the NFL…
I don't know, maybe. I mean, this is 18 years. Take it for what it's worth. That's more years than most of these guys will ever play. That has no bearing, really, on this season, I think, from a respect standpoint, because I do the same thing for someone who has played this game or has coached a long time.
Maybe a guy like Tom Brady, who hasn't played as long as me but has had a tremendous amount of success, is going to get a lot of respect from me. Just because I'm older means nothing. The guy has been outstanding. I think it goes hand in hand, players and coaches. I don't think he has bent over backwards for me. I would never ask him to do that. I'm not going to come in and start asking for all these special favors. I'm here to help this team win and he knows where I stand on that.