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Bench weight

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  October 28, 2010 09:21 AM

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Maybe Brett Favre can get together with Larry Lucchino this weekend when he comes to town to play the Patriots Sunday afternoon at 4:15 (6 p.m. for anyone with kids and a DVR) and the two can discuss the self-importance of their silly streaks.

But head coach Brad Childress has a game to win here, with the Minnesota Vikings' season very well on the line. (Though in the terrible NFC, is anybody really out of it?)

Favre has been awful this season. Only Eli Manning has tossed more interceptions (11) than Drew Brees and Favre, both of whom have 10. But Manning and Brees have both thrown 14 touchdowns, twice as many as the kinky MMS master. His 68.0 quarterback rating is better than only Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, and Jimmy Clausen.

There's only one way Childress can win over his team: By benching his Hall of Fame quarterback. Don't use the injury as the reason. Make it clear that he's being benched based on performance.

And yet the world waits with baited breath to discover whether or not Brett Favre is going to play against New England on Sunday (if we may delve into a bit of fantasy geekery here, the Patriots defense is a good play this weekend seeing as the last four of the Vikings' six opponents this season have put up double-digit numbers). The Vikings quarterback hasn't practiced this week, and is walking around in a protective boot thanks to stress fractures in his ankle. But Brett wants to play. And we all know what Brett wants...

All along during the Favre saga in Minnesota, Childress has played the Moneyball role of Ken Macha, the guy who appears in charge, even if everybody knows otherwise. This is Favre's team. The man has a stranglehold on it despite his atrocious play thus far this season. And in the midst of Favre's decision about whether or not he is good to go is his consecutive game streak, now sitting 315, some of which were even pretty good performances.

But instead of Favre's ineffectiveness, all we're talking about this week is the injury that may keep him off the field. Brilliant.

If Favre were performing at a high level and was trying to gut it out for his teammates, that's one thing. If he's putting personal accomplishments above his team's chances this Sunday, well, should we really be surprised with an egomaniac like Favre?

Of course, the Brett Favre Media PR Machine is in full force. This, from co-founder and president Peter King of Sports Ilustrated: "In the wake of the news that Favre has two significant injuries to his left foot and ankle, I spoke with a top NFL team orthopedist, who said not only is it realistic to think Favre will play Sunday, but also that if this were a playoff game, most quarterbacks in the league would very likely play with what Favre has."

Neat. Here's the thing: It's late October, not January. Who doesn't play hurt in January?

When you're 41 and Bruce Gradkowski has had a better season that you have, wouldn't a 1-2 game rest in the middle of the season be prudent, particularly if you're supposedly making a playoff run?

If Childress wants to make a stand and let it be known he's running the show, there's really only one course of action to take. Bench the problem. Let the world know his ankle is fine, but you're handing the workload to Tavaris Jackson in order to shake things up. Brett won't like it. The Patriots probably wouldn't either.

The Vikings have 10 games left. Wouldn't a healthy Brett Favre mean more in December and January than Oct. 31? Depends how you feel about choking meltdowns towards the end of games, I suppose.

Childress has a door, and he's only leaving it open because Brett has boo-boos. If the head coach indeed had control of his team, he would sit Favre and express that his quarterback is healthy enough to go. Just time for a change. Remember how Joe Morgan won over his team after getting into a dugout altercation with Jim Rice? Remember when Pete Caroll stood up to Bobby Grier? That must have happened, right?  

But we all know Childress doesn't have that kind of jurisdiction, so Favre will be limping onto the field at Gillette Sunday afternoon with his built-in excuse for failure. They may lose the game, but the streak will be intact. Yee-ha.

Oh, Randy Moss is also coming back to Foxborough Sunday.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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