It’s been a rough start to the season for Brett Favre and Vikings fans are beginning to panic. It’s only two games, but when a 40-year-old quarterback struggles out of the gate, it stands to reason that things can only continue to go downhill.
While the Favre’s issues are concerning, the good news is it isn’t difficult to see where the problems lie. His injuries may not be helping matters, but if the Vikings can fix a few areas around Favre he should be able to regain the magic of 2009. That may be a big “if”, but at least the problem is easily diagnosed. Here are the two biggest reasons for Favre’s drop-off in production:
1. He misses Sidney Rice
This is the most obvious reason for Favre’s struggles. In 2009 Favre targeted Rice on roughly 1/4 of his pass attempts (Rice was targeted 120 times last season by Favre and Tarvaris Jackson combined). Through two games this year, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe have replaced Rice as Favre’s favorite targets. However, you can’t replace one player with two. Harvin has the speed and Shiancoe has the size, but Rice had both. A gunslinger like Favre simply needs a receiver like Rice that can stretch the field and go up and grab a ball in traffic.
2. The offensive line is struggling
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Favre attempted a pass “under pressure” just 21.6 percent of the time. Through two games this season, that number has increased to 41.3. This biggest issue is the right side of the line – Phil Loadholt and Anthony Herrera – who have allowed a combined 17 pressures, eight hits and one sack. Unless the line improves dramatically, it will be a long season for Favre regardless of Sidney Rice’s health.