Jets Better Off with Chad Pennington?

David GellerAnalyst IOctober 20, 2008

While everyone is analyzing Brett Favre the human being, it may be appropriate to start talking about Brett Favre, the player. In the present tense.

From the second Favre agreed to play for the Jets as long as GM Mike Tannenbaum would stop kissing his feet, it’s been a storm of hype and talk with absolutely nothing to show for it.

Take Sunday’s game against Oakland, for example. Randy Cross was the color commentator, and he could not stop complimenting Favre.

It was actually reaching the point where I was worried about him. On the first play of the Jets' last drive in regulation, Favre held on to the ball forever, finally stepping to his right and slinging it across his body, where an interception was dropped.

Yet, Randy Cross did not talk about the decision that nearly cost his team the game. What he said was, “Wow! It is amazing that he can still put that much velocity on that throw.”

Huh? I’m glad you’re so impressed with velocity Randy, I’m sure that’s exactly what Coach Mangini was thinking after that play, too.

Through all the double clutches and errant throws, Cross depicted Favre’s performance as remarkable. In reality, his play was mediocre against the most dysfunctional team in the NFL.

At the end of the drive Dick Enberg said that the “drive” Favre orchestrated was typical Brett Favre magic. That one made my jaw drop.

I thought Brett Favre magic was No. 4 repeatedly firing a bullet into double coverage in a perfect spot. Not three dropped interceptions and missed tackles. When Feely made the 52-yard field goal Favre held his hands on his head like he had just won the Super Bowl. What was he doing?

But the Raiders' game wasn’t a break from the pattern. Favre has been very average this year. His stats have been inflated by a game against a totally inept defense in Arizona, and a second half where the Jets were in such a deep hole that the Chargers relented and let him pad his numbers.

Other than those sequences, what has he done? He moved the ball effectively against Cincinnati, but he threw a couple of interceptions that kept the Bengals in the game.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like what Chad Pennington did for the Jets? You know, 12-play drives where Chad calmly moved the Jets down the field? Except it never culminated in an interception. One thing that could always be counted on from Chad is when he moved the Jets down the field, he didn’t make a dumb mistake that took at least three points off the board.

The promise to the Jets fans that the offense would open up and be more explosive has not been realized. It’s the same exact offense, except with a four in the place of the 10 that Pennington wore. I’d even go as far as saying if Chad were here, the Jets would be at least 4-2.

The games against teams like the Raiders were ones Chad never lost. Last year may have been the only exception, but his play should have been excused by the fact his offensive line consisted of five human traffic cones.

Yesterday, Pennington would have methodically moved the ball down the field, not throwing errant passes in the red zone, and ultimately leading the Jets to victory. He has a team with substantially less talent, and is playing at the same level he did in New York. Solid.

The Jets arguably have the weakest schedule in the league, and his team is 3-3. Now the Jets are going to have to buckle up for the controversy train, steaming right towards the Meadowlands.

Favre’s unwise choice to help the Lions won’t only tarnish his legacy—which I’m sure is the only thing he cares about—but also his team.