Lurtsema's Reaction: Favre, QBs and defense

Most people view Brett Favre's debut as a downer. Not former Viking Bob Lurtsema, who believes Favre is close to hitting on a lot of plays. Plus, Lurtsema addresses the overall quarterback situation and where he thinks the defense will be better and different.

VU: What is your reaction to the way that Brett Favre played on Friday?

BL: I'm the only one that thought Brett Favre played well. I was very impressed with him when I watched him warm up. It's just a pleasure to watch him throw the ball so fluently. Even on that miscommunication on one route with Percy Harvin, it's just a matter that Brad Childress has one philosophy on that route and Brett Favre was brought up with a different philosophy. That's why the route didn't connect. Also, on one of his incomplete passes, he threw it over the middle where two receivers had a chance and they've been taught a different way here to go over that particular route. Taking that into consideration, I had no complaints about Brett Favre. Everybody says he looked terrible in seven plays. No, he looked good.

VU: What about Jackson's performance? Did he impress you or surprised you?

BL: No. 1, he's a great kid. He's got a lot of athletic ability, but he reminds me so much of Kordell Stewart. He always seems to be on a roller-coaster ride. He can scramble well enough and throw the ball up for grabs. And at times when he throws it up for grabs, somebody is going to make the big catch, especially on that Visanthe Shiancoe touchdown. Those days are going to happen, but that will always put you on a roller-coaster ride with him. You look at Brett Favre and you would never throw nine in the box against Brett Favre except on his first day. Favre will get you out of that situation with a positive result if you throw that many in the box, where Jackson still doesn't have the "it" factor, where you'll be guaranteed that he'll read his hot receiver when the defensive scheme puts that many in the box.

VU: Childress wouldn't really address the potential of keepinig four quarterbacks. Do you see any possibility that they do that or do you think there is one that will be gone in the next 10 days?

BL: Actually, the key to whether they keep four or not is John David Booty. John David is a smart quarterback and has a nice touch on it, and I've been trying to get a feel for him, but I really can't tell the readers out there that he has that strong bullet arm. I haven't seen that. I think if things go down the way they are, with the type of offense the Vikings have, if you can get a fourth- or a fifth-rounder for Jackson, I think T-Jack could be the odd man out. I think John David Booty does have a lot of upside. I think he's the type of player that when you have a running game the way the Vikings have, and with their defense, I think John David Booty can really captain your ship through pretty much any storm.

VU: If they can't get more than a sixth- or seventh-rounder for Jackson, what do you think happens then?

BL: I really don't want to address that because I think the no-brainer for the Vikings is to get as much as they can for Tarvaris Jackson. He's a nice kid; I think the world of him. But I just think that Jackson is the odd man out. If they can get a fifth for him, get a fifth because they lost Tyler Thigpen a couple years ago, so they always have that possibility with a late-round draft choice.

VU: Do you think they will allow Favre the freedom he needs to really help the offense?

BL: Favre has to have the freedom. If Favre doesn't have the freedom to do what he has to do with all his experience, then I think the players will lose a lot of confidence in him. Also, I think Coach Childress has learned a lot in his first three years. I think he's on the same page with Coach Childress right now, and I think that's a tremendous plus.

VU: The defense has been playing well so far. Even against the pass, they seem to be playing better than last year. Is that just a preseason thing or do you see something where they've really improved?

BL: I'll tell you, E.J. Henderson, what a fun guy to watch the way he comes at people. His acceleration speed once he breaks, his closing speed, is spectacular. To miss him last year and still be ranked as high as they were is astonishing. E.J. is going to make the difference. Also, they're going to do a lot more this year with Jared Allen. They know he can play at right end, but you're going to see him more on the left side this year and you're going to see a lot more stunts. The last preseason game, they had about 20 different defensive line stunts – some people call them games. They are really going to use a lot of different schemes and that's really going to put a lot of pressure on those offensive linemen. The defense will be better, much better than last year. The biggest key, I think, is with E.J. and then the versatility of the defensive linemen, especially now that Leslie Frazier knows what he can do after having him for one year under his belt.

VU: What do you think of the offense so far?

BL: The biggest thing is no turnovers and no sacks. The defense will keep you close, but the offense has got to close the door and they haven't done that yet. I believe they should, but I don't think they have yet. That's where they're going to be able to have Brett Favre audible out of different situations. Watching him Tuesday, they were working on the no-huddle offense and were working on audibles at the line of scrimmage, so they were addressing a situation that helps the offense the most.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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