Tag Archives: Football


                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Do you think there was much of an overreaction when the Jets signed Brett Favre?  You bet there was.  Does Favre make the Jets better than they were the day before his acquisition?  Of course.  Now, what does that mean?    

The Jets are, to begin with, in the wrong division.  Without Brett Favre, they start the season playing for a Wild Card playoff spot.  Do you really think that’s changed now that he’s in New York?  Neither do I.


After all the pomp and circumstance (Brett Favre with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall before he’s ever even practiced with the Jets was a bit much), what does this do for the Jets in the short term and the long term?  Well, in the short term, the Jets are a better team.  Good enough to make the playoffs?  Maybe, by squeezing into a Wild Card spot.  How long does the Brett “improvement” last?  Maybe one year, two years tops.  If the AFC East was a wide-open division, it might be a different story.  But it’s not.


What about Brett’s attitude coming to New York?  Clearly, it wasn’t his first choice (Minnesota).  It probably wasn’t his second choice (Chicago).  It probably wasn’t even his third choice (Tampa Bay).  He’s only committed to one year in New York.  If things don’t go well for the Jets early on, Favre will take a pounding in a New York minute (Favre’s not in Kansas – oops, I mean Green Bay – anymore). 


For example, the Jets open in Miami against the woeful (at least last year) Dolphins.  But now that the Dolphins have instituted the Bill Parcells system from top to bottom and signed a Parcells first-round pick when he was a Jet (Chad Pennington), this first game goes from an easy win to a much tougher win.  With the Patriots and the Chargers after that, the first game of the year now becomes a must win divisional game on the road, a tough thing to do regardless of your opponent.  While the schedule gets much easier after that, the Jets could be in a gigantic hole after only three games.    


Beyond that, what does this do for the Jets in the long term (defined as three, four and five years from now)?  Well, if nothing else, the growth of Kellen Clemens will be stunted (from a small sample of NFL games, I’m not sold on Clemens as a big-time quarterback or even the future of the Jets at quarterback).  But the Favre acquisition limits his growth for at least another year or two.  To really understand this, just look at Aaron Rodgers.  Where’s he going this year?  Favre has said in the past that he doesn’t want to be a mentor.  Do you think he’s going to change now?  Neither do I.   


Give owner Woody Johnson a ton of credit.  He’s spent a ton of money on Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins, among others.  Are these guys still top-shelf players or on the decline?  Tough question.  Brett Favre’s acquisition certainly makes this a win-now team.  Or else.  Will all of these All-Pros/Super Bowl Champions still be top shelf players in three, four or five years?  Very unlikely.  Will any of them?  Tough question.


But it’s a win-now world and a win-now league.  Did Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery just get better?  Absolutely.  Are either of them Donald Driver?  Unlikely.


And don’t forget, despite a great regular season in 2007, Favre has, in recent years, shown a tremendous ability to make some incredibly stupid throws in big spots.  Hard to believe that (now Super Bowl champion) Eli Manning could go into Green Bay in a playoff game and outplay Brett Favre.  But he did, and many thought that final terrible interception that Favre threw, which, essentially, ended Green Bay’s season, would be the final pass of his glorious career.  Obviously, that’s not true.


To recap, the Jets have improved as a football team for the next year, maybe two.  Did the Jets have to make this move?  Probably.  But will Brett Favre make them an elite AFC team (which, nowadays, would make them an elite NFL team) this year?  I can’t rate them ahead of the Patriots or the Colts or the Chargers (or even the Steelers).  Can you?


Perhaps the most interesting thing Favre said since his arrival wasn’t the “I can’t make any guarantee” or the “I hope I can play as well as I’ve played in the past.”  Rather, it was the following at his initial press conference:  “To a certain degree, I really don’t know what I’m getting into.”  Well, he’s going to find out, for better or for worse.



© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   


The big day is coming:  Saturday, April 26 – The NFL Draft.  But what do you really learn from the “expert” analysis that comes at you from 1,000 different places.  Do these “experts” really understand?  Do they really know what they’re talking about?  Does it really matter?


It says here that draft day “analysis” of picks, the dreaded “winners and losers” lists in the draft that will come out the day after and the ad nauseum “what a mistake that team made” analyses you’ll hear until you can’t take it anymore, are all virtually irrelevant in the days and weeks right after the draft.  What I mean is, you really have no clue whether a draft selection (or a team’s entire group of selections) is good or bad until at least the next season.  In reality, it often takes three or four years to really know the answer to what “experts” are guessing about on draft day.  And the “experts” are themselves protected, because there is no answer as to whether they are right or not for months or, more likely, years.


My favorite proof of this the last few years is none other than Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning.  Giant fans, for the most part, have been complaining for years that Eli was a poor pick, that the Giants gave up too much for him, that there were other QBs in the 2004 draft who were (and certainly played) better than Eli.  The most a patient Giant fan could say was “give him time, he’s young.”


To look at his regular-season stats, even today, one would think it was a terrible pick.  His lifetime completion rate is still only 54.7% (an unimpressive 56.1% in 2007).  His career QB rating (an absurdly mystifying statistic – but that’s for another time) is 73.4 (an unimpressive 73.9 in 2007).  Most fans don’t even know what that means – except to know that it’s not good.


But Eli Manning took the Giants to the Promised Land last season.  He did what very few thought he could do – make big post-season plays to come out of the shadow of his brother and his father to win the Super Bowl.  While we all still think that Peyton Manning is a much better quarterback than Eli (and, of course, he is), remember this – in the only real stat that counts (Super Bowl victories), the brothers Manning are tied at one.  Does that make Eli Manning as good as his brother?  No.  Does that make Eli Manning an excellent number one draft pick despite poor stats?  You betcha.  And all the Eli critics have fallen by the wayside.  After all, he won the Super Bowl and was a major factor in the post-season.


And speaking of the great Peyton Manning, have we all forgotten the pre-draft hysteria in 1998 over who would be the better pick – Peyton Manning or the forgotten Ryan Leaf?  Yeah, all the Ryan Leaf “experts” are now hanging out with the Eli Manning bashers.  You get the point.


Once in a while, you can answer the question on a draft after a season.  An excellent example of this is the 2007 New York Giants.  New general manager Jerry Reese, despite deflecting credit, has correctly been labeled a guy who had a brilliant draft for the Giants.  All of his eight 2007 draft picks made the team and many made huge playoff contributions.  Many of you know how good Aaron Ross (1st round) became at corner and many of you saw the huge post-season contribution of Steve Smith (2nd round – 14 post-season receptions for 152 yards).  But how many of you knew about Jay Alford (3rd round – sack for the ages late in the Super Bowl) or Kevin Boss (5th round – five post-season receptions for 90 yards, including that unforgettable 45-yard romp in the Super Bowl) or Ahmad Bradshaw (7th round – leading Giants post-season rusher) or even long-snapper/linebacker Zak DeOssie (4th round)?  Very few. And even fewer “experts” could even guess that this group would become this good this fast.


So remember, as your head starts to spin from people telling you how this team had a “great” draft or that team “missed the boat,” you really won’t know (and neither will they) for, probably, years to come.     

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.