New Jets QB Brett Favre enters the practice field for his first practice today at Hofstra University (Jets Insider.com Photo)
So it begins. The saga that is Brett Favre made its debut at Hofstra on Saturday, and opened a new chapter that started in Atlanta (technically), and continues on. Fans packed the bleachers on the “soccer field” and media outlets (100 credentials were issued) flocked to Hempstead to catch the first glimpse of Gang Green’s newest member. There were approximately 10,500 fans in attendance. Usual Saturday attendance: 2,500.
1:20 p.m.-The stands near Weeb Ewbank Hall are rocking, waiting for their new beacon of hope to take the field. J-E-T-S chants occur almost every five seconds.
1:31-The black gates open; the team starts to file in. “BRETT FAVRE, BRETT FAVRE,” the crowd starts screaming.
1:33-He’s here. Favre was met with an onslaught of cheers and chants as he made his way onto the practice field.
”We love you Brett,” one fan exclaimed. During warm up sprints, every time Favre came to the fan side of the practice field fans roared.
“It’s exciting,” Favre said. “Really, I’m a rookie. Being in the same system and being in the same place for so long, you get use to your routine. This is obviously different.”
Apparently, Favre was so excited that he muffed his first snap during center drills.
“I was probably overly excited when I started practicing,” Favre said. “I’ll pay for it tomorrow.”
Favre’s presence on the field gives Gang Green a new option in diversifying the offense; more so than before which was more or less a dink and dunk scheme.
“He can make all the throws,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “He can make some things happen that some other--that may not have been possible. So that opens up some things offensively and it adds some additional pressure to the defense.”
Favre’s first press conference in Hempstead at the end of practice marked the beginning of which seems to be a media-heavy season for the 38-year-old quarterback.
“This is obviously different,” he said. “I think the guys we’ll see that I’m easy going and fun to work with. Everyone is ready to get on with football.”
The expectations of this coming season for the New York Jets grew exponentially when Jets Brass announced the acquisition of the future Hall of Fame QB. Now, it’s all about what the former Packer and his new team does to answer those expectations.
“Well the expectations are great here,” Favre said. “They were in Green Bay as well. There wasn’t near as many people. But those people in Wisconsin came to expect winning. But I can’t worry about things I can’t control.”
On the New York scene.
“I think here, you can read more into it but the bottom line is playing,” he said. “That’s how I handled most of my career. Just do what I can do and not really get caught up in all the other stuff.
Other stuff? Like what? Playing in New York? The PR nightmare that is the Green Bay Packers?
On March 3rd, Brett Favre announced his retirement. As most fans know, that was the beginning of a long and winding road between Favre and Green Bay, which ultimately led to his departure.
“March 3rd, when I made that announcement, I was not committed 100 percent,” he said. “They wanted an answer at that time. No one held a gun to my head but I was honest and at the time I knew that there might be a chance that I want to play again.”
Favre inherits a team coming off a 4-12 season. He didn’t know that.
“I honestly didn’t know the Jets were 4-12 last year until I got up here,” Favre said. “I was surprised. I like the guys, I like the coaching staff. But there’s no substitute for getting in a game-type situation.”
One reporter asked Favre if this were a movie, and if he were to script it out for the rest of the season, how would it go?
“I hope that at the end of the season I feel that I made the right decision as well as everybody else,” he said.
“At this point I think it was the right decision,” Favre said. “I’d love to win the Super Bowl. I would’ve loved to have won it last year. I can say that for a lot of years. My intentions are to help this team win. I can’t make any guarantees.”
Favre has a lot of work ahead of him. He has to learn a new offense (or at least the new signals), names, etc.
“He’s been working incredibly hard,” coach Mangini said. “But him, Brian Daboll (QB coach), Brian Schottenheimer (OC) have been spending a lot of time together.”
Lap runners of the day: RB Musa Smith, DB Darrelle Revis and OL Matt McChesney.
Quarterbacks did drop back drills on the west field. Favre looked rusty. But then again, it’s his first time he’s put on pads since last seasons NFC Championship loss to the Giants.
Favre’s first completion of the day was a stop route to TE Chris Baker when the QB’s made their way to the east field.
During 7 on 7 drills, Favre was 3-for-5, INT. Favre hit Baker again, this time on a crossing pattern toward the right sideline. On the next play, LB Matt Chatham intercepted Favre on a stop route intended for WR Jerricho Cotchery.
Oh yeah, Kellen Clemens got some snaps in too. Clemens hit TE Dustin Keller on a crossing pattern and threw a pass at his feet with the “blitz” coming. QB Brett Ratliff put together a nice end-around to everywhere man David Clowney who juked and jerked through the defensive line and tiptoed down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Kick return drills saw RB Leon Washington flash quickness and lightning speed. DB Rudy Burgess also returned kicks.
11 on 11 saw Favre make his best throw today which were few and far between due to rustiness. Favre hit Cotchery on a post pattern one handed catch for 25 yards.
Two minute drills only consisted of Clemens and Ratliff, not Favre. Clemens hit WR Wallace Wright on a stop route. Ratliff ended the drill with a 60-yard TD pass to WR Brad Smith.
Time of Practice: 1:56.
LB David Harris was back in action today. However, DB Justin Miller was not on the practice field.
LB Brad Kassell was placed on injured reserve today. Gang Green signed tackle Thaddeus Coleman. Coleman, an undrafted Free Agent out of Mississippi Valley State, was a member of the Arizona Cardinals. He was waived July 31st.
TE Bubba Franks, WR Marcus Henry (leg), DE Shaun Ellis (wrist) and LB Jason Trusnik were on the exercise bikes today and did not participate in practice.
Coach Mangini on TE A.J. Schable: “He’s going to be fine,” he said. We’re going to monitor him the next couple of days and make sure that everything is progressing the way we need it to progress.”
Jets brass said that between online and Jets Tent services, a Brett Favre jersey was sold every eight seconds.
For some reason during stretches, Brett Favre was the only player on the field with his helmet on.
Woody Johnson: Photographer?
During Brett Favre’s press conference, Owner Woody Johnson was circling the press pit, snapping pictures of his new QB. “One of our guys thought it would be funny if I went up there and took pictures to see if anyone noticed me,” he said. “I guess he was wrong,” he said jokingly.
Cheeseheads in Hempstead
A few cheeseheads, some green, some yellow, were spotted in the stands during practice. One fan even had the Jets logo painted on the sides of it.