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BETWEEN THE LINES

Are you receiving me?

Favre tries to establish with the Jets the kind of bond he enjoyed with his Packers receivers.

September 07, 2008|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

It's important for Brett Favre to learn the language of the New York Jets' playbook, of course. But it's just as important for him to develop a trust and unspoken communication with his new receivers.

That's what he had in Green Bay with receiver Donald Driver, among others, and it's what all great quarterbacks develop with their favorite targets. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice had that. If Rice saw a vulnerable spot in a defense -- maybe a corner crowding him at the line of scrimmage with no defender over the top -- it wasn't unusual for him to shoot Montana a subtle hand signal, change his route and head deep downfield.

Without that comfort and familiarity with his receivers, Favre is forced to adhere to the playbook, which could be restricting to a quarterback who has built a career on creativity.

That's why Favre sounded so pleased after the exhibition opener against Washington, when he described his first snap with the Jets. Receiver Jerricho Cotchery broke off his route and ran a quick slant -- a Favre favorite -- for an 11-yard gain over the middle.

Favre described the route as a "second-window slant, which to the average person means nothing." He went on to explain that a Redskins linebacker dropped into a short zone and obstructed the quarterback's first look at Cotchery. Instead of trying to squeeze a pass into that first window, Favre hoped that Cotchery would continue his route. The receiver kept running, which allowed Favre to connect with him.

"A lot of guys won't throw that ball in the second window or the receiver will give up when he runs into a defender," Favre told reporters.

"Little things like that are easily overlooked by the average fan. I told Jerricho, 'Don't give up the second window, there could be a third window,' because that's the way I've always played.

"That's what I'm trying to get across to those guys. The only things that I've tried to get across to them are things that have worked for me in the past. You don't have to be the fastest, biggest or strongest. Just be on the same page as me, and vice versa."

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