NFL: Redskins brace for Favre circus
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008
ASHBURN, Va. ó The Washington Redskins have already played in the Hall of Fame game. Now they have to face a future Hall of Famer.
Brett Favre makes his Big Apple debut when the New York Jets host the Washington Redskins on Saturday, and suddenly a ho-hum game on the preseason schedule has quite a bit of pizazz.
“It’s going to be a circus, no doubt,” center Casey Rabach said. “A guy in his stature, what he’s done in this league, to be on a new team now, it is going to be a media circus for that game.”
The Redskins are familiar with Favre, having lost three times to him at Green Bay since 2001. It’s their first preseason game against Favre since 1995, which they also lost. Still, it won’t be the same with No. 4 wearing a different shade of green.
“I don’t know how I’m going to react when I see Brett Favre in a Jets uniform,” cornerback Shawn Springs said.
Coach Jim Zorn’s job is to keep his team focused on the usual tasks of preseason ó getting the starters some work, improving familiarity with the game plan and letting the backups vie for roster spots. The Redskins want to build on the progress seen in their 2-0 start that included a win over Indianapolis in the Hall of Fame game and last week’s victory at home over Buffalo.
Even so, Zorn compared the upcoming experience to his days as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions, when players on both sidelines would stop whatever they were doing to watch Barry Sanders carry the ball. He expects his players to show the same admiration for Favre.
“I fully expect our sideline to all be standing up,” Zorn said, “watching him play when he is in.”
Zorn, himself a former quarterback, figures Favre will draw on perhaps 30 plays from his new team’s scheme, having been with the Jets for only a week. It only takes one, however, to beat the Redskins secondary.
“If we let down at all, he could still throw the ball ó and the plays that he does know, he’ll know how to execute them,” Zorn said. “He’s only going to be in there for a bit, so the fun will be over very quickly. The festive-like atmosphere will be over very quickly. I’m getting ready for a game, and our players have to do the same.”
Added defensive end Demetric Evans: “We know who he is and his credibility in the league, but it’s preseason and it’s not like we game-plan.”
Younger Redskins who haven’t encountered Favre are looking forward to facing the legend ó perhaps because the game won’t count in the regular season standings.
“It’s definitely cool to play a Hall of Fame quarterback. It will be interesting getting out there with the gunslinger,” safety Reed Doughty said. “It’s cool that a preseason game has more hype. It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be a big game up there.”
NOTES: LB H.B. Blades returned to practice for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery July 30. He will not play Saturday. … S Laron Landry (hamstring), DE Erasmus James (knee), WR Anthony Mix (rib) and RB Clinton Portis (coach’s decision) also won’t play, and RB Rock Cartwright (ribs) is doubtful, according to Zorn. … WR Antwaan Randle El (hamstring) will be a game-time decision. … Three players returning from injuries ó CB Carlos Rogers (knee), linebacker Rocky McIntosh (knee) and receiver Devin Thomas (hamstring) ó will make their preseason debuts. … DE Jason Taylor, who has been bothered this week by a foot injury, will play briefly. … QB Jason Campbell will give way to Todd Collins in the first quarter. Derek Devine is scheduled to play the third quarter and Colt Brennan the fourth.