Should Favre be given chance to compete for the starting job? This is a question that I have been considering the last few days. I didn’t want to have to consider this, but it’s a legit question right now. I find it somewhat curious that the Packers have maintained the stance that Favre cannot compete for the starting job. I know it’s a hard-line stance that they developed mostly due to Favre’s wavering and the significant issues this continues to present. And, I understand that the team had made a decision to move forward which has led to subsequent, key organizational decisions (like implementing Rodgers-specific plays, figuring life with $12M more in cap space, drafting 2 QBs…despite TT always stating he doesn’t draft for need…).
But not allowing Favre to compete for the starting spot would seem to fly in the face of McCarthy’s philosophy of “open competition”. Every year we hear about the various open competitions going on. There was an open competition between Mason Crosby and Dave Rayner last year and despite Rayner being a solid incumbent who competed at a high level, Crosby was able to beat him out because it was “open”. The Poppinga/Chillar battle has apparently been an “open” competition as have the never-ending battles for the guard spots. There is an open punter competition and right now at least an open RB competition. There is an open competition at safety with Rouse factoring in and an open competition for the 3rd cornerback spot. There is an open competition at WR, at TE, etc.
So, it would seem to me that one reasonable compromise would be to have the Packers tell Favre he can compete for the starting job against Rodgers (and Brohm) and that in exchange for doing so, the team would like Favre to agree to restructuring his contract to a 1 year $8 million deal and an a clear agreement now that Favre would make any retirement decision at the end of this season by February of 2009 (after the Super Bowl) at the latest. If the money isn’t critical to Favre, he’d agreed to this as a way of apologizing for his part in this mess. And this would enable Favre to start waffling now. And, let’s face it, while Favre was great last year, he’s old for an NFL player and he may be getting to a playing age where a younger guy may finally catch up with him and be able to outperform him. Having an open competition would also enable Rodgers (and Brohm) a real chance to simply outperform Favre in camp and win the job. Frankly, it’s what Rodgers would have to do right now anywhere else in the entire NFL if he weren’t a Packer – so it makes some sense. If he is indeed so well-versed in the offense as they say and the offense flows really well through him, he would have the opportunity to start which would still be an improvement from last year where he didn’t have this opportunity.
(Interesting note: one guy you have to feel for in all of this is Matt Flynn. He was probably all fired up to come to Green Bay where he could fight for the #2 spot, but if Favre does return, he may end up being the odd man out. I’ll bet Flynn’s family and friends are pulling hard for a Favre retirement or a last-minute trade!)
(Interesting note #2: interesting candor by some other players re their preferences (in McGinn’s jsonline article this morning, like Ryan Pickett very clearly wanting Favre to come back).