Solomon: A Brady (Fan & Foe) Must Read
If Mike Reiss hadn't written it, I'd never have known what role Josh Miller was going to play in Solomon's development! God Bless Josh! :D
To truly appreciate what we have in Brady, here is an article about Bret Favre:
Post-seasonal depression Favre, Packers struggle in recent playoffs
By TOM SILVERSTEIN
Posted: Dec. 24, 2005.
Green Bay - By the time he was 28 years old, Brett Favre stood alongside the likes of National Football League legends Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino and Bart Starr in post-season annals.
Just six years into his career as a starter, Favre ranked as one of only seven quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in the playoffs and trailed only Montana, Marino, Bradshaw and Elway in career post-season touchdown passes with 25. His passer rating of 92.0 ranked fourth all-time behind Starr, Montana and Ken Anderson.
Having played in consecutive Super Bowls during the 1996 and '97 seasons, Favre was at the zenith of his playoff career.
Little could he, or anyone else, have known how cruel the post-season would be to him from that point on. As the Packers faded from their Super Bowl luminance, so did Favre's glorious playoff numbers.
Starting with the Packers' elimination in the first round of the playoffs on Terrell Owens' miracle catch in '98 to the infamous "fourth-and-26" game against Philadelphia in Jan. 2004, the playoffs have been nothing but heartbreak and frustration for the Super Bowl XXXI champions.
"I was a rookie when we lost the Super Bowl to Denver," kicker Ryan Longwell said of the 1997 season. "All the superstars we had, I thought we'd go on forever. That San Francisco playoff game that next year, obviously we got a bum call with that Jerry Rice fumble, but after we lost that game it was kind of an eye-opener that it's not guaranteed that you're going to go to the Super Bowl every year.
"I think being a rookie I certainly took it for granted. It's been tough to get back."
And for Favre, it's been a series of moments worth forgetting.
After missing out on the playoffs in '99 and 2000, the Packers came back in 2001 only to bow out in the second round in a 45-17 loss to St. Louis in which Favre threw a playoff record-tying six interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
The following year the Packers lost the first home playoff game in franchise history to the Atlanta Falcons. In '03, the Packers blew a shot to play in the NFC Championship Game with the Eagles debacle and in '04 Favre threw four interceptions in another home playoff loss, this time to division rival Minnesota.
Except for '03, the Packers were never close to competing for a Super Bowl, and their playoff elimination was as far from a fluke as one could fathom. Even in '98, coach Mike Holmgren's final season in Green Bay when the Packers still had the remnants of a Super Bowl team, the road to the Super Bowl ran through the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings, who had beaten the Packers twice already, and the Atlanta Falcons.
Despite 12-4 records in '01 and '02 and a 10-6 record in '04, the Packers were simply not Super Bowl caliber.
"In looking back there's no doubt the year we lost to Denver and I think the year following that season, which was Holmgren's last season, no one would argue that we were not as good as we were the previous year," Favre said. "And then I think with each year we probably could have said that.
"Records sometimes don't indicate how good you are either way. We gave ourselves some opportunities by getting in the playoffs, but we never capitalized on them."
After the Super Bowl loss to the Broncos, Favre had a 9-4 post-season record and he had thrown for 3,098 yards and 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in those games. His passer rating of 92.0 was 2.7 points higher than his career regular-season rating.
Eight years later, his post-season record has fallen to 11-9 and his passer rating has dropped to 84.0. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions in going 2-5 since the loss to the Broncos.
Ten of those interceptions came in the losses to St. Louis and Minnesota and they are one of the indelible marks left on Favre's recent playoff record.
"I take as much responsibility for the lack of production and the fact we didn't win in those games, just as much as when we say the team wasn't as good," Favre said. "I really don't put any added burden on myself for those losses. I felt like I played as well as I could. Obviously we didn't win the games and statistically speaking it was not enough to carry us on to the next week. But I don't think it was a reflection of my age or whatever.
"I think that's just the way it went. Some of those seasons statistically, I was as good as I was at any other time. As we know in the playoffs it comes down to one game and how you play that game; it's not how you played the previous 16 or 17. I'm not going to beat myself up over it. It is what it is."
The year that could be remembered as Favre's best shot at getting back to the Super Bowl was '03, when the Packers squeaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season, the result of Minnesota losing on a last-second touchdown in Arizona.
It was an extension of the emotional wave Favre never imagined having to endure this late in his career. Just six days earlier, he had played the game of his life against the Oakland Raiders on "Monday Night Football," throwing for 399 yards and four touchdowns. It came a day after he learned of the death of his father, Irvin.
Given another shot at the post-season, the Packers won in overtime against Seattle in the first round and the following week took a 14-0 lead against the injury-afflicted Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles stormed back and eventually won the game in overtime on David Akers' 31-yard field, advancing to play Carolina in the NFC Championship Game.
Three plays stood out in that game:
Coach Mike Sherman's decision to punt on fourth and 1 from the Philadelphia 41 with the Packers ahead, 17-14, and 2 minutes 30 seconds to go; the fateful "fourth-and-26" play, which occurred on the ensuing Eagles possession and allowed them to keep alive a drive that resulted in a tying field goal; and Favre's desperation heave in overtime that safety Brian Dawkins intercepted and returned 34 yards to set up the winning field goal.
Favre's poor decision in the face of a blitz will be one of the lasting memories of the game because despite the two previous lost opportunities, the Packers still had a chance to win the game. But the Eagles blitzed Favre from the weak side and when no one picked it up, Favre chose to throw the ball up to Javon Walker rather than throw it away.
"I wish I had it back," Favre said weeks later. "Do I wish I had a lot of passes back in my career? Yeah. But they had the perfect blitz for the play we had called. You can say, 'Throw it away' or something like that, but with 3 seconds you don't have much time to make a decision. I made a decision. You live with it. It really shouldn't have come down to that to be honest with you."
Not long after that game, Sherman made a statement that might haunt him.
"We'll get this opportunity again," he said. "Obviously, there are obstacles in every season and I don't have a crystal ball on what next season's going to bring for us. But the Packers will get this opportunity again."
Those who were party to the Eagles loss know they might never get that opportunity again. There are no guarantees the Packers would have beaten Carolina for the right to play New England in the Super Bowl, but the way Favre was playing up until his overtime interception (12 touchdowns, two interceptions in four-plus games) and the fact the Packers had won five straight, there's no telling how far they could have gone.
After the game, Favre skipped his regular post-game meeting with the media and sat in the back of the bus at the stadium's loading dock. It took him weeks to get over the loss.
"Anyone in my position, if it means enough to you, the game itself, could understand what I was going through," Favre said. "There was a point in the game where I felt like this is it for me. That's what's tough. Sometimes you know you're out of it, like the Jets game, like the Atlanta game last year. I mean, I knew it was over. You're almost in some ways prepared for that.
"Up until they (the Eagles) kicked the field goal, I expected to be playing the following week."
The Packers won the NFC North for a third consecutive time in 2004, but they fell apart in the playoffs against the Vikings. Favre and the Packers defense were equally bad and only a late rally made the final 31-17 score seem fairly respectable.
Most of the players knew they blew their golden opportunity the year before. They know it even more now that they're going through a 3-11 season that makes the playoffs seem like a pipe dream.
"I think our best shot was in Philadelphia because the biggest thing in the playoffs you learn is that you have to have that 'it' factor," Longwell said. "When Brett's dad passed away, from that game on we kind of had that 'it' thing going. You can't bottle that up. When we lost to Philly we really thought we should have won that game."
If Favre never makes it back to the playoffs or Super Bowl again, he won't wear the tag of being unable to win the big one. He did that at 27 years old and it helps alleviate the frustration of so many playoff failures since then. Marino and Dan Fouts both went their entire careers without winning a Super Bowl and have to live with that fact.
Whether Favre can go out the way John Elway did, retiring after winning a Super Bowl, will depend a lot on how quickly and effectively general manager Ted Thompson rebuilds the team. But it will also depend on whether Favre can regain the playoff magic he once had. He'd like to find out if he still has it, but if he doesn't get that opportunity he'll relish the ring he already has.
"Having won one always is the tradeoff," Favre said. "If it doesn't work out I can say I've been on a Super Bowl-winning team."
Seeing how Bret Favre REGRESSED makes us appreciate how Brady is still trying to IMPROVE even after 3 SBs.
Bret Favre was hyped up to be a "legend" and a "superstar". He probably started to believe in his own press releases. He never improved himself mentallly or otherwise, always relying on instinct and arm strength. He also probably did not listen to his coaching staff.
In contrast to Favre, Brady is constantly improving himself. The word that keeps popping up when describing Brady is "humility". He is too humble to compare himself to Montana. He still gets advice from his high school coach as well as Charlie Weis. He follows Belichick's instructions. He is today exactly who he was in 2001, a 6th round draft pick who felt very lucky to playing in the league.
One area that I hope he can improve on is avoiding contact. Brady is not sacked often but he seems to get hit very frequently and this is not good for him long term. Isn't there anyway for him to avoid getting contact that often?
I think an area that TB has been addressing and has made some improvement is with his legs. He will never be a Mike Vick. I don't think he wants to even try. But I think he also doesn't want to be pigeon-holed as a Drew Bledsoe either. He is doing something about it too.
He is perfecting the techniques of the QB sneak, and even looking to call his own number when teams are dumb enough to present a glaring opportunity for it.
He will never be a scrambler but this year, perhaps from necessity, has him running some and doing OK at it after he is flushed from the pocket. All he wants is to be regardeed as average as a runner at QB, and not be regarded as a target to be exploited. He is also perfecting the techniques to take the yardage given him and then slide to avoid the hit. He is succeeding too. Look at his rushing stats.
Brady realizes that if teams can't just load up to rush the passer and ignore his ability to run, in turn that it makes his PASSING job easier.
If Drew had spent some time running up stadium steps like Walter Payton used to do, instead of vactioning in the Montana wilderness a few offseasons, he would not be the immobile QB target that cause so many teams to blitz him, unmercifully. Drew could be a better runner if he just had a little acceleration in his first few steps. Once he gets going, DB can run but he is painfully slow getting started. That particular problem can be overcome with technique and muscle work in his legs, but he hasn't done it; it may cost him his career and any HOF possibilities as a result.
Tom is in his 5 year as a starter. Everone says that a QB take 5 years to reach his full potential and then they still get better over the next 5.
There is always exceptions to the rule, but it gives me goose bumps thinking that Tom may not have have hit his prime yet.
:rocker: :horn: :cool2:
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