Most Jets fans want Brett Favre to retire. There may not be any official voting place, but any site where supporters of this team gather tells the story. Jets fans are angry over Favre's role in the collapse from 8-3 and his 2 touchdown, 9 interception performance over those miserable final five games offered the indication he is totally washed up. Brett appeared completely worn out by the end of the season and had teammates call him out. He probably will retire. However, the assumption this will be the best thing for the Jets may not be accurate.
A lot of fans say, "Draft a franchise quarterback. Look at what it did for the Falcons and the Ravens this year." This is a silly thought. If finding a franchise quarterback in the Draft was easy, quarterback play in the league would not be so terrible. Young quarterbacks are hit or miss. It is impossible to say how they will grow with so many variables at play. Look no further than Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, David Carr, Alex Smith, and J.P. Losman, just a few examples from the past ten years alone. These guys were supposed to be future stars. It was as simple for some teams as picking these franchise quarterbacks. However, years like 2004 and 2008 that produce multiple high quality players at the position are exceptions to the rule. Most years turn out like 2006, where a number of players are touted but fail to live up to the hype. Nothing better can happen than finding one, but missing can set back a team for a few seasons.
Favre may well be washed up, but there is just as good of a chance fatigue was got him down the stretch as deterioration of skills. Remember, he had this team at 8-3 at one point. He led impressive road wins against the Patriots and Titans and humiliated the Cardinals, a team playing in the Super Bowl this weekend. Brett is in his late 30's. His conditioning is more important than it was early in his career. Before his MVP caliber 2007 season, he went through a rigorous offseason workout program to prepare for the year. Before 2008, he was relaxing as a retired player and then played with high school kids in shorts when he decided to return. An offseason more like 2007 than 2008 could help Brett's play from deteriorating so starkly down the stretch. A full offseason to fully digest the playbook and get comfortable with receivers also could not hurt.
The Jets will need to become a run oriented offense. They have a pair of excellent running backs and a terrific run blocking offensive line that struggles in pass protection. Eric Mangini and Brian Schottenheimer gave Brett the keys to the offense even as he struggled in the end. If Favre returns, his role in the offense should be scaled back. It should be clear this is not his team. His job is to move the chains when the team needs it and under no circumstances to fling it off his back foot in any situation. There will be times when the team takes the chains off, like in that Thursday nighter in Foxborough, but this is only when the team needs a big passing performance. Brett may have something to offer, but the team cannot depend on him to carry the load or give him a blank check.
This is not a full endorsement of Favre's return. There certainly would be benefits to him hanging it up. Another year of Brett means another year of not knowing whether Kellen Clemens might be the answer. A guy with Favre's ego might be tempted to walk over a rookie head coach. This is only to say that Brett playing another year would not be the worst thing for the franchise. Searching for a franchise quarterback is a long and painful process full of misses most of the time. The Jets are near that time, but they can at least delay the inevitable. The majority of a team considered a Super Bowl favorite three quarters of the way into the season will return. If the same talent gets used properly in 2009, the results could be excellent. That includes the role of Brett Favre. If he gets himself ready the correct way, and the team can keep him under control like Mike McCarthy's Packers did two years ago, he can still be effective.