Alain's one-on-one with Dan Leberfeld

Alain: What's been the problem with Brett Favre in recent weeks?

Dan Leberfeld: Favre's issues recently are twofold. The Jets have played some bad-weather games, specifically against Denver and Seattle, and he doesn't handle wintry weather like he used to. We might have seen a clue of that last year in Green Bay when he played very poorly in Chicago late in the season, and then against the Giants in the playoffs.

Another issue is that Favre's body is clearly not feeling great right now. A combination of his age, no offseason conditioning program and him taking a lot of hits has taken its toll.

But with all that being said, Favre threw a perfect deep post to Laveranues Coles down the middle against Seattle late in the game, and the receiver couldn't come down with it. So while he has struggled recently, there have also been plenty of impressive throws mixed in, so it's not like he's stinking out the joint.

Alain: What percentage of the Jets fan base would you say would prefer having Chad Pennington rather than Favre at this time?

DL: Last summer that vote tally would have been 98 percent Favre, and 2 percent Pennington. Now, it might be 80-20 the other way. Most Jets fans were very critical of Penny, with the term "noodle arm" being used quite a bit to describe him.

The problem with what the Jets did was they rolled the dice on a Hall of Fame quarterback for perhaps one year, and handed a division rival a three- or four-year talented starter. That is a very risky gamble.

Alain: Was there ever any repercussions to Laveranues Coles' unflattering comments about Favre?

DL: It was one of the worst cases of a player being taken out of context that I've ever seen. San Francisco Chronicle writer John Crumpacker twisted Coles words. He didn't say anything bad about Favre — nothing. So there have been no repercussions, but perhaps the writer should suffer some.

Alain: Speaking of Coles, why has he been so up and down this season; is it strictly because he lost his good buddy Pennington?

DL: Coles has been hampered by a leg injury (either a quad or hamstring; the Jets are secretive with injuries like the Dolphins) all season, and it might be a factor in his up-and-down season. Also, this injury kept him out of the entire training camp, so he got no reps with Favre in the summer, so they have been playing catch-up chemistry-wise all season.

But he's still a dangerous receiver. However he's had more drops than usual this year.

Alain: Why is it that Thomas Jones has been so much more effective this year than last year, his first season with the Jets?

DL: A few big factors. Tony Richardson, even at his advanced age, is still a great fullback. He was an outstanding addition last offseason, and has had a myriad of great lead blocks throughout the 2008 season.

Secondly, the offensive line has taken a quantum leap this year. The additions of free agent LG Alan Faneca and RT Damien Woody have worked out very well. They are really solid, smart players who have been consistent all year.

Also, the addition of offensive line coach Bill Callahan was a stroke of genius by GM Mike Tannenbaum. Callahan is a brilliant offensive line coach, and has had a huge impact on D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. To say Ferguson has taken a quantum leap this year might be an understatement. Callahan has refined his technique and footwork, and Brick has been outstanding. He's had a better year than Buffalo's "Pro Bowl" left tackle, Jason Peters. And Mangold might be the best center in football this year.

So these factors have helped Jones, but also the Miami resident's indomitable will, top-shelf toughness and amazing strength for a running back can't be discounted.


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