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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Why did Brett Favre intrigue the Rams?

By Nick Wagoner

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Just when it seemed all the discussion about the St. Louis Rams and quarterbacks was about to settle down, our Adam Schefter reported this morning that the team reached out this week to 44-year old Brett Favre as a potential replacement for injured starter Sam Bradford.

Per the report, Favre declined the offer and made it clear that he has no plans to return to football. He hasn't played since 2010.

Perhaps the hardest part to figure out is what's most surprising about this news. Is it that the Rams attempted to sign a 44-year-old who hasn't played in three years and struggled to an 11-touchdown, 18-interception season when we last saw him? Or is it that Favre, he of the perpetual "Indecision" -- the anti-LeBron James -- not only declined the offer, but did so without spending some of his free time pondering the possibility?

Brett Favre
Brett Favre might have appealed to the Rams because of his ability to mentor their young receivers and running backs.
It's no surprise that Favre didn't want to return. One would think the situation would have to be much better -- a potential championship situation -- for Favre to consider it. The Rams don't offer that.

From the Rams' perspective, it's somewhat shocking to hear that Favre was a potential target. There was plenty of caterwauling from fans and media alike about finding a "big name" who could help sell some tickets during the back half of the schedule. But even for those hoping to find a quarterback solely on name basis, Tim Tebow and Vince Young came up.

The Rams made it pretty clear that Tebow and Young weren't options. Even when I attempted to sort through the (ugly) list of names of potential replacements Monday afternoon, Favre wasn't one of them. Maybe he should have been.

While at this point in his life, Favre probably wouldn't have been much of an upgrade over Kellen Clemens, there are a couple of reasons why he would be a person of interest for the Rams. First, he has at least a little bit of experience working with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who held the same position for the New York Jets when Favre played there in 2008. Although it's been more than five years since they worked together, it stands to reason Favre would at least have enough working knowledge of the offense to pick things up quickly.

The other, more important reason it could've made some sense is that Favre's experience working with young skill-position players might have been a net positive. To my thinking, one of the biggest things lost with Bradford's injury was a steady hand capable of helping the league's youngest group of receivers and running backs develop. Favre has no shortage of experience, and though his completion percentage dipped to 61 percent in his most recent season, that's still more accurate than Clemens has ever been, and right in line with what Bradford was throwing this season.

On the other hand, that the Rams even called Favre only further exposes the team's lack of foresight on how they would handle things if something happened to Bradford. They missed out on adding a young quarterback named Ryan Griffin (whom New Orleans liked enough to promote to its active roster from the practice squad to prevent him from going to St. Louis) who might have actually provided them with a young player with some upside, and an eventual upgrade as a possible long-term backup or better. The Rams probably should have had someone like Griffin already on the practice squad.

The Rams opted to bring in Austin Davis and Brady Quinn as backups to Clemens -- sensible, but it doesn't move the needle much. From the list of names the team apparently considered, only Favre would have been a likely starter. You don't call Brett Favre to be a backup. This only reinforces that the Rams aren't completely comfortable with Clemens as the starter.

It also makes it clear the team failed to ever really sit down and figure out exactly what it would do if something happened to Bradford.