Does Favre make Jets a playoff contender?

Brett Favre is in. Chad Pennington is out. And now the Jets are instant playoff contenders, right?

Well, maybe.

The Jets may have lost 12 games last year, but they lost nine of those 12 games by less than 10 points (signifying they were at least competitive). A couple of key factors played into the Jets’ struggles last year, including being limited at the quarterback position, an offensive line that underachieved, and the inability to stop the run on defense. After acquiring him via trade with the Bears in the offseason, NY expected more out of running back Thomas Jones (1 rushing TD), too.

So what did the Jets do this offseason? Well besides acquiring Favre, they also landed prized free agent guard Alan Faneca (Steelers), big-bodied DT Kris Jenkins (Panthers), versatile linebacker Calvin Pace (Cardinals), and drafted athletic outside linebacker Vernon Gholston. In other words, they made a huge effort to plug the leaking holes on their roster.

Getting back to Favre, one would assume that he only makes the Jets’ offense more productive. He has a stronger arm than anyone on NY’s roster, takes risks (which sometimes translate into big rewards…and sometimes not) and he’s a veteran leader that guys like Jones, Laveranues Coles and a slew of young but talented offensive linemen can look up to. The Jets have been hamstrung by limited quarterback play for years. Favre is anything but limited.

But is his head in it? And is he ready to play? One of the reasons Favre was so productive last year was because he worked his ass off in the offseason to get into the best shape of his life. With all the hoopla that has occurred over the past few weeks/months, has he stayed in relatively good football shape? The guy is a grizzled veteran, so one would assume he’s taken care of his body. But only time will tell if the 38-year old signal caller is ready to take the Jets back to the playoffs in ’08.

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