Favre at a loss over Vikings' woes
EDEN PRAIRIE — No matter how dire a situation might be in the NFL, the majority of coaches and players will tell you everything is going to be fine. Then there is Brett Favre.
The Vikings quarterback rarely sees the need to sugarcoat things — especially when it's not deserved — and he made no exception Thursday as he talked about what ails a Vikings offense that has produced 19 points (second-lowest in the NFL) during an 0-2 start.
"If I sat here and told you I know exactly what we're doing right now, I'd be lying," Favre said. "A lot of work is left and it will be once again an ongoing process until we have our unit (executing) how we want to go about things. We're not there yet."
Favre, who did not absolve himself of blame and admitted to pressing, was speaking specifically about a receiving corps that lacks his favorite target from last season, injured Sidney Rice, and includes newcomers Greg Camarillo and Hank Baskett, who signed on Wednesday. Favre hasn't been able to get any type of rhythm with Bernard Berrian, the Vikings' No. 1 receiver, and Percy Harvin has been in and out of practice because of migraines and a strained right hip.
On Thursday, Favre missed a portion of practice for the first time this season because of soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle. Considering Favre did not arrive in the Twin Cities until mid-August, it shouldn't come as a surprise the passing game lacks the continuity that might be in place if everyone had been at training camp.
The question is: How fast can it be turned around? Favre is coming off his worst performance since joining the Vikings last season. He threw three interceptions and had a 44.3 passer rating in a 14-10 loss last Sunday to Miami. The rating was his worst since late in the 2007 season, and the interception total was one more than Fare threw all of last year at home.
His 56.1 rating through two games ranks him ahead of only three other quarterbacks, and the 129 yards accumulated by Vikings wide receivers is better than only the Jets (98) and Chiefs (114).
In taking steps to try to fix things as quickly as possible, Favre spent the early portion of Thursday's practice set up as a defensive back during group drills so he could offer instruction to wide receivers as they came off the line of scrimmage. Favre, for instance, told Harvin to be patient in running his routes.
Work in the classroom has gone from important to crucial.
"Considering I'm not real sure who I'm throwing to on particular plays, probably the best rep that we're going to get right now is talking about it, talking about plays that we're not going to get reps in practice," Favre said.
In assessing his own play, Favre said "it's not good enough," and said he was pressing in the loss to the Dolphins and made some poor throws.
"I know I've got to err a little more with caution on some of these decisions," he said. "And history has shown with me that when we're struggling a little bit, I try to press the issue and try to make something happen. I think that's what made me the quarterback I am and has benefitted me throughout my career. But it's also hurt me. It's hard to be patient and try to get this puzzle pieced together because we're doing it as we play."
Favre threw a career-low seven interceptions last season in part because he didn't press and was put in situations to succeed. He said Thursday he has told offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to help him out by knowing what play calls to stay away from because some will only get the quarterback in trouble.
"(That's) something that I'm always conscious of," Bevell said. "I have those conversations with Coach (Brad Childress), 'How do you manage (Favre)? How do you make sure you put him in the best situation?'"
One thing Favre would seem to have in his favor entering Sunday's game against Detroit at Mall of America Field is the fact he is 18-0 at home in his career against the Lions. If that success is to continue, Favre knows things must turn around and that begins at the top.
"Right now, we're kind of grasping at straws trying to figure out things," he said. "I think we, me included, can get on the same page even better. We have to meet in the middle. ... Darrell and I, Brad. When I leave the building, I don't know what goes on in their staff meetings. That's not my concern. I don't want to raise red flags. We have to get on the same page because we're 0-2. We have to find a way to get this thing going. I have to make better decisions. I have to play better. There's a lot of things that go into it. But it ultimately starts with Darrell and I and Brad."