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News » Film Study: Should Chargers blitz Favre?

Film Study: Should Chargers blitz Favre?

Film Study: Should Chargers blitz Favre?
Stopping offenses for four quarters is getting more challenging for defensive coordinators, as nearly all of the rules are geared towards increased scoring, and, (most importantly), as quarterbacks have progressively become more efficient. I'm not referring to the robotic types that just "manage the game," but quarterbacks who can complete the high percentage throws while still being able to wing it on the run and throw the deep ball: Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, and yes, Jay Cutler.

Perhaps the ultimate example is, and has been, Brett Favre. He has proven to be at times an accurate passer who could run Mike Holmgren's version of the West Coast offense, while also being able to go all Daryle Lamonica on a team and bomb them into submission.

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Favre was originally labeled a "gunslinger" who beat teams when improvising, while sometimes beating his own team with that same freestylin.' In his first three seasons as a starter, he was prone to make bad decisions at critical points in the game. This led to many DC's blitzing the heck out of him, forcing Favre to make quick, and often poor, reads.

It's always tough to pick a line of demarcation in a player's career, but, perhaps for Favre, the player-that-was morphed into the player-that-is on Thanksgiving Day 1994.

The game is more famous for Cowboys' third-string quarterback Jason Garrett lighting it up in place of an injured Troy Aikman. But Favre smoked the top-ranked Cowboys defense that day as well, playing pitch-and-catch with Sterling Sharpe. The game was a track meet.

Former Fox analyst John Madden felt that a high-low hit on Favre by Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert in the first quarter "knocked something into him," as he played extremely well in a loss, throwing four touchdowns and no picks. Over the last five games of that season he sported a QB rating of 104, tossing three times as many touchdowns as interceptions.

That hot streak continued all the way through 1997 to the tune of three straight MVP awards. Defensive coordinators learned that applying pressuring, or trying to intimidate Favre, often led to disaster and lots of Antonio Freeman touchdowns.

Favre still makes the occasional hair-brained throw, but blitzing the wily veteran is not necessarily the way to go.

Bill Belichick came to this realization as Patriots defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXI. He gambled early, sending six to rush Favre on the Packers' first possession. Favre rewarded him by rolling out and delivering a laser to Andre Rison — streaking past poor single coverage — for a touchdown. It's the same highlight you've seen a thousand times with Favre ripping his helmet off, Jeff Bridges-hairdo flowing, and running off the field.

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As mentioned, Favre can handle most blitz packages, and exploit one-on-one situations. Cromartie and Jammer weren't exactly Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes when left in single coverage last week. While Jammer has been a serviceable corner, and takes more unfounded criticism than Windows Vista, Cromartie has not punished teams for picking on him like he did last season.

Although not a popular move with the local San Diego sports bar clientele, I think the Chargers are better off dropping their athletic linebackers in the short/intermediate zones more, and not playing at the line as much. That would be inviting the Jets to use running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington to beat them. Despite successful gains last week, the Jets' running game didn't beat the Patriots.

The Chargers offense will put up some points. If the defense taps the brakes and plays a little more conservatively, they might avoid the dreaded 0-3.

Pick: Chargers, in a super tight one.


  • Poor Ed Hochuli. The human Creatine machine is still getting roasted in the media, even though the officiating in the aforementioned Eagles-Cowboys game was worse.

  • This week I watched "Wolf in the Fold" from Star Trek, Season II. Scotty is suspected of murdering a belly dancer at a cabaret on some planet. Pacman Jones' posse was not in the same galaxy, in case you were wondering.

  • At one point in the aforementioned Pittsburgh-Philly game, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in six plays. That's about as good of protection as the fiberglass on my truck provided Thursday night. It's so totaled.

    Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: September 23, 2008

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