New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.
Q: What was your personal reaction to quarterback Tom Brady's injury? And what was your professional reaction, as far as what it means for the New York Jets?
BF: I didn't really have a personal [reaction]. Of course I know Tom [Brady]. The last time I talked with him [was when] he called me last year when I broke the record for touchdown passes and he congratulated me. Our relationship is really nothing more than that, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he's done and I felt bad for him. That's one of those injuries that's a freak injury, it can happen to anyone, but the thing is a guy who's been that steady and consistent for a long time, and I know that people think 'oh, ok Tom's down, this team is in trouble.' But how many times have we seen this with the Patriots? I know it's Tom, but that's the same thing they said with [Drew] Bledsoe. You can't replace Tom. It's not going to happen. The guy has been outstanding, but you can overcome, and that was really my professional reaction. It's a shame, it's unfortunate but they'll be fine. They've always been fine. When he comes back he'll be as good as ever.
Q: How have you meshed your philosophy of how you've played football with the Jets' offensive philosophy? Have they done some things to go with what you do as a quarterback and do you have to do some things as a quarterback to go with what they do as an offense?
BF: I think both. I think there's a meet in the middle philosophy here. They obviously made a trade for me because of the way I've played over my career and because of the fact they still think I can play at a high level, which I believe too. This offense is obviously different than what I'm used to, and I've got 17 years under my belt of something totally different. In talking with [Jets General Manager] Mike Tannenbaum through this whole process, he's said 'Brett, we're making this deal for you because you will make plays that maybe other guys obviously wouldn't attempt, and we're willing to take that chance. We're hoping to take it to the next level.' And the thing is, I'm not saying that that's right or wrong. I give him credit, whether it's me or someone else, that he is willing to take that chance and that this team is willing to take that chance. That's all I can offer and I think [Head Coach] Eric [Mangini] and I have had this conversation numerous times and with [Offensive Coordinator] Brian Schottenheimer. I'm going to do whatever it takes to win and in some ways that game the other day [vs. Miami] was a perfect example of that. I didn't play very well from an overall standpoint [but] it was enough to win. I have to play much better. I'm still learning this offense and we're trying to scale back but also add at the same time, if that makes sense. [We're working on] how we're trying to call things and make it simpler for me to leave the huddle and know what we're doing and focus more on what they're doing. That's kind of been the problem we've faced because we have to do it. I mean we're playing regular season games right now. But in that process, what I've gotten from my guys here is 'Brett, play your game. Whatever that may be, play your game.' Obviously the little things that you hear week in and week out — take care of the ball, calculated risk, know when and when not to do certain things — all hold true. I don't even need to be told that; they all hold true. But also 'Brett, play your game'. So that's what I'm trying to do. The last thing I want to do is come here and play poorly. I want to give this team the best chance to win, whatever that may take.
Q: As a quarterback, what kind of advice would you give to quarterback Matt Cassel going into his first start? Obviously the nerves are going to be there and it's a big divisional game on the road. And what do you remember of when you were first thrust into your position with the Green Bay Packers when quarterback [Don] Majkowski went down?
BF: I don't think I'm in a position to give Matt Cassel that much advice. I think he's fallen in the footsteps of somebody [Tom Brady] who's been pretty damn good. And he obviously handled himself well the other day. He's probably going to tell you guys he's ready, he's worked for this opportunity and that's all true and I think he'll do fine. But for me, I think of every guy who's ever had his first start, there was no person that I could think of who was ever more raw than me. I mean, I'd never really played in a passing offense. I was always in an option-style offense and was asked to do things that normal starting quarterbacks in this league were never asked to do; I blocked and just, you name it. So I was really learning on the run. I had a lot of talent, but was very raw. I didn't know how to use it. To me, if a guy was double covered or triple covered it didn't matter; I could throw it through them. The precision part of my game didn't come until later when I started reading defenses and looking at it from a different perspective, and a lot of it had to do with Mike Holmgren. But I think Matt Cassel is ready to accept this role. I think he did great the other day [vs. Kansas City] and I don't see any reason why he doesn't continue to play well.
Q: What are your thoughts about the Patriots defense that you're going up against on Sunday?
BF: I think they're damn good. We played them a couple years ago in Green Bay. I didn't make it to halftime, but it goes without saying that [Mike] Vrabel. Tedy [Bruschi] and Rodney [Harrison] make that defense go, as far as knowing the scheme, getting guys lined up [and] the savviness outstanding. But they're front guys and I know AD [Adalius Thomas] is a friend of mine, a Southern Miss. guy and a hell of a player, and it goes on down the line. I mean, their defensive line is as good as anybody in football and not to mention they have probably the smartest defense in football. You're not going to outsmart them; you've got to outplay them. That's easier said than done.