Friday, March 7, 2008

What will we do without Brett?

It's official, Brett Favre is retiring. The NFL loses an icon, Green Bay loses its hero, and fantasy loses a pretty useful quarterback.

I can't say I was the biggest Favre fan in the world, but that was due not so much to the man but to the way the media covered him. Anyway, Favre was once an elite fantasy QB, then his reputation took a bit of a hit in recent times. The fantasy community saw him as being in decline and not having as much upside as some of the other young guys out there, a fantasy backup at best. But a funny thing happened in 2008: Favre threw for his most yards (4,155) since 1998, his most TDs (28) since 2004 and had his highest QB rating since 1996. And just like that, he was gone.

We'll miss Favre on draft day next year, when there's no longer that familiar name available that we know we can count on to play every week and help our team out. In his place is a new name: Aaron Rodgers, the fourth-year QB and presumably Favre's heir apparent in Green Bay.

Rodgers, perhaps best known to NFL fans for his long, sad wait to be picked at the 2005 NFL Draft, obviously hasn't seen the field much playing behind the durable Favre - he's 35-for-39 with one TD and one INT in his three years in the league. But he's a big, strong QB who's had a three-year apprenticeship behind a living legend, and he's got some serious pedigree, having been coached at Cal be renowned QB guru Jeff Tedford. There's reason for hope here, but I can't endorse taking Rodgers as anything more than a No. 2 QB next season, and only if you've got a rock-solid No. 1. Is Rodgers ready? Is he the next Steve Young, replacing Joe Montana in San Francisco, or is he the next 50 guys or so who've tried to replace Dan Marino in Miami? Time will tell.

And what does this mean for the rest of the Packers' skill players? It certainly won't help receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings much, so downgrade them a bit. The Packers may lean on RB Ryan Grant a little more next year, but he was already zooming up next year's rankings after his breakout year.

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