It may seem like it’s stating the obvious, but if Brett Favre does not return to the Vikings as NFL.com reported Tuesday it clearly levels the playing field in the NFC North. Not only will the Vikings have lost backup running back Chester Taylor, who joined the Bears via free agency this off-season, but they will have to start the erratic Tarvaris Jackson under center.
Although Favre turned 40 last October, he statistically had one of the best seasons of his 19-year career last year by completing 68% of his passes for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns compared to just 7 interceptions en route to an NFC Championship appearance. His ability to keep plays alive by moving in the pocket was still among the league’s best and his good decision-making was downright scary for opposing defenses, forcing them to choose between defending the pass or stacking the box to stop Adrian Peterson.
Jackson has flashed moments of big-play ability in his short career but his consistency is nowhere near what is desired of an NFL starting quarterback. If Favre does indeed choose to retire for a third time, all teams, the Bears included, can focus more on stopping the run and not fear being beat by Jackson’s arm.
It’s still early, of course, and Favre has been known to change his mind. So, until I see 32 different quarterbacks taking snaps under center on opening weekend, there’s always a chance Favre returns. But in the meantime, the NFC North race just got a little tighter than it already would have been.