Just as some people don't do windows and some players don't do special teams, Brett Favre said today he doesn't do game management. Or at least he didn't.
"I joked with Phil Simms the day before about 'managing the game,' " Favre said of a cellphone chat with the CBS analyst and former championship QB. "I kind of joked, I said I never really believed in that. I think you play the game. Whatever is asked of you, you do. I don't manage."
Then Favre added with a chuckle, "But I managed the game the other day, as bad as I hate to say that."
Favre managed to direct the Jets to enough offense to stun the Bills in their home, 26-17, and further build the Jets' confidence in their offense and their chances.
Factor out the 40-yard screen pass to Leon Washington and the 35-yard zonebuster to Jerricho Cotchery and the legendary gunslinger completed 17 of 26 passes for 136 yards at 5.23 yards per attempt. None of his other completions went for more than 15 yards.
But other than the one hiccup — his wobbly interception as he was crushed on a Paul Posluszny blitz that was returned by Jabari Greer for a lead-threatening touchdown — Favre was efficient and effective. He and the Jets had no other turnovers after committing nine the previous three games, and the offense, while scoring only one touchdown in six red zone trips, added four field goals to stay ahead of the dangerous Bills for the final three quarters.
Many Brett Favre fans and Jets critics want to turn No. 4 loose, let him call all his own plays and throw the ball all over the NFL's stadiums to his heart's content. But unless ol' Brett is fibbing, he says he's still on board with the way they do things here in the land of the Green & White as opposed to how he did them for 16 of his 17 previous seasons in Green & Gold territory.
"I'm not going to walk out of this room and say, 'I lied to 'em again,' " he told reporters at his weekly news conference. "All I want to do is win. That felt really good the other day. As I said the other day, I'd love to throw 70-yard touchdowns and love to throw six every game, but I'd much rather win.
"At this stage in my career, there's not one thing left out there for me to achieve, not one thing that I set as far as goals other than if I'm going to come here and play for the Jets, and that's to win here. That's it."
The same goes for head coach Eric Mangini's game-plan-specific approach to each opponent. Some fans look askance at this concept. Favre says it's the only way to go.
"You're seeing so many different looks, disguises and stuff like that, it's hard," he said. "You almost have to break it down — 'They slant their front this way and they scrape their 'backers this way. These runs, as good as they may look, there's going to be an unblocked guy just out of the movement they give you, so keep it simple and we'll do this. We'll do a quick hitter up the middle." Or 'Our passes are going to be specific to what they do.'
"I really think that's the way to go nowadays. Of course, if you win, it always looks like the right move. I think more teams are going to that, not only offensively but defensively."
What most followers of Favre worry about that if the Jets change his spots too much, he won't be what he was during his best seasons in Green Bay. But if we double Favre's statistics from his first eight games as the Jets' field general, they look pretty much like the average season he enjoyed in his 16 Packers seasons:
* Packers Avg. Jets Projection*
Attempts 547.1 526
Completions 336.1 360
Percentage 61.4 68.4
Yards 3853.4 3624
Yards/Attempt 7.04 6.89
Touchdowns 27.6 30
Interceptions 17.9 24
Sacks 27.4 32
Passer Rating 85.8 87.8
No question Brett the Jet is not the same as Brett the Packer. He's not throwing downfield as much, which has translated to a higher completion rate. He's throwing for slightly more touchdowns but also more INTs.
Yet always most important are victories, and Favre averaged 4.6 wins and 3.4 losses at the midpoint of his 16 Green Bay seasons. So the Jets' 5-3 mark could be better, could be worse, but couldn't be more Favrean.
"No doubt that we're still trying to lock in on our identity and what we're trying to do," Favre said. "The one thing that is obvious is what's in front of us and what we have to do to get to it. It's a good position. It obviously is fun for everyone. There are a lot of teams that are out of it at this point and there's no fun in that.
"To be honest with you, I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to what people are saying. I've had so much advice throughout my career, good and bad, some directly and some indirectly. All I know is this is 18 years. I'm still playing. This team is tied for first place. That's not too shabby."