- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

Brett Favre is still standing after taking a number of hits in recent weeks, none worse than the rally that attracted a mere handful of his supporters at Lambeau Field.

That reflects in part the divide on public opinion in Green Bay, Wis., one side weary from the annual drama and the other in no hurry to embrace the uncertainty of Aaron Rodgers.

The national exasperation with Favre is easy to grasp. A rugged quarterback as drama queen is an unappealing juxtaposition. That he still can play at a high level has been overshadowed in recent weeks.

The Packers should not be angling to determine the value of Favre in the NFL marketplace. They should be scrapping their plans and readying to go another season with Favre as the starting quarterback.

That is the smart move, the only move if the Packers want to be in the championship hunt this season.

Does anyone truly believe that an unknown quarterback is going to lead the Packers to the Super Bowl? That is farfetched, no matter how much potential Rodgers is said to have.

Not that Favre is likely to lead the Packers to the championship either.

But which quarterback gives the Packers the best possible chance?

That is the essential question in this soap opera.

And the answer is obvious.

That is what should be driving the thinking of the Packers’ front office and coaching staff.

You evaluate the probable outcome of Favre or Rodgers in 2008, as the gamblers do in Las Vegas, and make the call.

That is the principal obligation before Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who, it could be argued, perhaps knows something the rest of the NFL does not.

To which can be said: He better.

It is only his job at stake.

However it goes down - most likely with Favre landing with a team that can do the least amount of damage to the Packers and Thompson’s reputation - it remains puzzling on some level.

If it is only about winning - and all those employed with the NFL say it is - then this stalemate is ludicrous.

And the onus is on Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy.

Yes, Favre’s annual will-he or won’t-he waffling has become old, tiresome, if not unfair to the organization.

But again, if your No. 1 priority is to win games, then you grant more latitude to those who make that prospect more likely, especially if a player’s biggest crime is being indecisive about retiring.

Some of the anti-Favre sentiment lacks context, considering how NFL teams routinely indulge those with rap sheets and do so with a straight face.

Favre may be 38 years old and may not scramble out of the pocket like he once did, but he found a way to reinvent himself last season.

As the sixth-rated quarterback in the NFL, he passed for 4,155 yards. He also had 28 touchdown passes and limited his interceptions to 15.

Most NFL coaches would not have to think longer than a nanosecond before embracing a quarterback with those numbers.

The dearth of quality quarterbacks in the NFL is so acute that the Panthers were forced to lure 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde out of retirement after Jake Delhomme tore a ligament in his elbow last season.

When it comes to being a blubbering babble of self-indulgence, Favre is guilty as charged.

Yet that will be of no concern once the season is under way and Favre, as envisioned, is playing elsewhere.

Then it will be only about the wins and losses and not who said what, when and where in the offseason.

Then Thompson will be left to hope that Rodgers defies the steep odds and plays at a level that eliminates the issue of Favre.

That is the long-shot proposition before the Packers and now unnecessary with Favre planning to play another season.

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