Analysts: Favre won't be wallflower Thursday

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Brett Favre the past couple weeks has played a supporting role in the New York Jets' offense. The phrase "game manager" has been used to describe Favre's main function.

But NFL Network analysts Cris Collinsworth and Steve Mariucci don't think the new role will take. The NFL Network is broadcasting Thursday night's game between the Jets and New England Patriots.

Collinsworth noted the Jets' running game behind Thomas Jones and their defense's stinginess has curtailed the need for risky moments, but said we're "still seeing the ticking bomb that is Brett Favre. It's going to go off -- in good ways and bad ways. But that's exciting."

After Favre tossed a career-high six touchdown passes in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, he had a three-game stretch in which he threw four touchdowns and eight interceptions.

But his verve has been curbed the past two games. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 201 yards and no touchdowns with one interception against the Buffalo Bills and 14 of 19 for 167 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions against the St. Louis Rams.

"Part of that game-manager thing is you have to see what the score is," Mariucci said. "If they get behind, forget managing the game. They're going to open it wide open and throw the ball around and find a way to win or get back in the game."

New York's ball-control offense, which calls for Favre to throw shorter, quicker passes, has helped Favre stay on his feet. He was sacked 15 times through the first six games, but has been felled only once over the past three games.

Collinsworth predicted the new-look Favre probably won't be on display much Thursday night.

"I almost have to laugh when we talk about [Favre as a game manager] because I know that's a part of what these coaches have to do with him," Collinsworth said. Green Bay Packers coach "Mike McCarthy last year was 'Brett we've got a plan, and let's stick to the plan, and we can't throw it up all the time, and we've got to [measure] our shots.'

"But at the same time Brett has a way of making big plays down the field that if you don't take some of those shots then you're not the 6-3, first-place football club that you have either.

"That's always the interesting dynamic, and against the team that can play defense against the run the way that the Patriots do, you know Brett Favre's going to have to be major element in this game if [the Jets are] going to win. You're not going to just line up and blow [Patriots defensive linemen] Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren and these guys off the ball."