Colt Brennan Feels the Love
When Colt Brennan's first series Friday night ended with a goal-line interception that the Patriots returned for a touchdown, the jokes started. Press box jokes about Chase Daniel jerseys going on sale. Internet jokes about how Colt would need to be gelded. At that point, he had three preseason interceptions, and zero preseason touchdowns, and the Cult of Colt was on the verge of being dissolved.
"Pretty abysmal," Brennan said, describing how he was cussing himself out even as he tried to chase down cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. "I couldn't believe it when it happened. It was kind of surreal for a second. I was like, 'Not again...Are you serious?' "
And then he walked to the sidelines, and walked into the warm embrace of Interceptions Anonymous, Redskins style. Casey Rabach came up to offer a word of encouragement. So did Chris Cooley. So did Jim Zorn. And so did every quarterback on the roster, from Daniel to Todd Collins to Jason Campbell.
"I mean, these are guys you're competing with, and they're rooting for you," Brennan said with a shake of his head. "I mean, that's pretty impressive, considering it's the NFL, [considering] it's such a business
"I said, 'That happens in football, move past it,' " Campbell recalled. "Get ready for the next series, get out there and strike 'em with a touchdown pass, don't let that get you down."
And it wasn't just guys on the offensive side, either. Several defenders, including cornerback Fred Smoot, came up to Brennan after the interception, urging him to forget about the past and find some success before the night ended.
"That's my guy, man, that's my guy," Smoot said. "I love Colt Brennan, man. You know what? There's some guys that's born to do what they're doing, and they just get the perfect name, the perfect everything. He's one of those guys to me. He just reminds me of Brett so much. I've been around Brett Favre so long, and I see a lot of Brett in Colt. I feel like I've got to look out for him and take care of him. That's my guy."
Now, none of this would have mattered much had Brennan gone back out on the field and tossed three more picks. But he didn't. He may not have dazzled, but he held things together. His final line was at least respectable; 6-for-12 for 81 yards and a touchdown, although he was sacked four times. And he said the words of his teammates had helped accomplish that much.
"I can't even remember how many guys came up to me and just said don't worry about it," Brennan said. "You know, I've done so well in practice, and it's been frustrating to not really do all that well in the games this year. So to have that kind of support from teammates and coaches made me settle down, made me realize, hey look, let's just focus on getting in the end zone, and luckily I was able to score one....
"Everyone knows me, everyone's seen me have success here. They know that I kind of get in a rhythm and I get confidence and I go. And the way things have fallen into place this preseason, I've kind of just had some bad things happen and I've had to deal with it....But at least everyone's been real understanding and been real supportive and been rooting for me, and I really can't ask for anything more."
What happens next? Hell if I know. Jim Zorn had words of praise and criticism after the game, saying Brennan made "a couple of really big throws" but also "showed his lack of NFL experience out there." After getting all the buzz last weekend, Chase Daniel didn't even play.
Brennan said that last preseason, all his chances paid off, and this year, all his chances have backfired. Still, the Cult will probably live on, at a slightly lower decibel level, and at least Brennan finally got his team into the end zone.
"I just sat there and looked at the sideline, like finally, I can't believe it's been this hard," he said of his touchdown pass to Marko Mitchell. "It was like a huge weight off my shoulders. Hopefully I can really put it together and end preseason on a good note."
He was referring to Thursday's game at Jacksonville. When I chatted with Smoot, though, the cornerback was thinking bigger picture. He described Brennan as his "little brother," and talked about helping him in practice and seeing his improvement. I asked Smoot if he thought Brennan could play in this league.
"Think he can play? I think he's gonna be great," Smoot said. "I don't say that about a lot of players. Put it like this, the Falcons traded Brett Favre years ago. I just hope we don't make that mistake."
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