Brett Farve Talked About ‘Seeing Ghosts’ as a Young Quarterback

In the Monday, October 21st game against the New England Patriots, Jet quarterback Sam Darnold was heard saying he “saw ghosts.” The Jets went on to lose the game against the Patriots and many were left puzzled by what exactly Darnold meant by the comments. Legendary quarterback Brett Farve, however, knew exactly what Darnold meant. What exactly did he have to say about the whole ordeal?

Packers quarterback, Brett Farve, eludes pressure from the defense.
Brett Farve scarambling away from pressure | Bruce Dierdorff/Getty Images

Brett Favre relates

In a recent interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Brett Favre explained that “seeing ghosts” is part of the process for new NFL players. 

Favre said “seeing ghosts” was a term his former head coach Mike Holmgren used in the early seasons of his own career with the Green Bay Packers. Before he became the star quarterback everyone remembers, Favre had 70 touchdown passes and 51 interceptions in the first 47 games he played with the Packers. During that time, he took 95 sacks and had a completion percentage of 62%.

Favre said “seeing ghosts” wasn’t a new term. He explained the progression of a football player from high school where there may be one or two good players to college where there were maybe eight top players. By the time the player arrives at the NFL, he’s faced with nothing but good players. He says the player faces better talent, exotic defenses, and a high-speed game. It’s part of a learning curve.

“Seeing ghosts”

Brett Farve thinks the young Darnold has potential. While he doesn’t know Darnold, he can relate to the experience of “seeing ghosts.”

As a young player in the NFL, Favre said a quarterback might think an opposing player was blitzing or think he sees a safety backing up into deep coverage. When the film is reviewed later, it turns out that what the young player thought he saw wasn’t the case. 

In the 33-0 loss to the Patriots, Darnold had his worst performance so far. He threw for less than 100 yards and threw four interceptions against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Favre explained that it’s just part of being a young player in the league. He said new players are “exposed to a lot of stuff.” He doesn’t believe that Darnold was thrown to the wolves in that particular game. Farve doesn’t even think Jets’ head coach Adam Gase did anything wrong in the situation. He said that as a younger player, “you’ve got to go in and play.”

The “seeing ghosts” comments Darnold were caught because he was mic’d up at the time. Coach Gase was angry that NFL Films allowed ESPN to run the clip and has threatened to limit mic’d up access moving forward. The comments went viral almost instantly after he made them.

Teammate and running back Le’Veon Bell also complained saying the NFL “did Sam dirty as hell.”

Advice from Brett Farve

Brett Favre said Darnold needed to go in and play with “guns blazing.” If the young quarterback makes mistakes, Favre explained, he makes them. What’s important for the young man is to learn from those mistakes and accept that he will make more in the future. He said that over time, Darnold would make fewer mistakes and would become more familiar with his offense.

The former Packer quarterback said that the time it takes to become familiar with an offense is often overlooked with new quarterbacks. He explained that the offense is new to the young player. The Patriots’ Tom Brady was very familiar with his offense which gave him a distinct advantage.

Brett Favre says that Sam Darnold will see more ghosts but over time, it will “become less and less.”

And that certainly proved to be true with the improvement in his performance and the assertiveness Darnold has displayed since. According to the New York Times, Darnold recently met with Gase about the situation. While neither has specifically stated what they talked about, Gase said Darnold was able to explain what he wanted and what his coach could do to help him.

Whatever they talked about certainly seemed to be a turning point for the Jets. They’ve won their last three games against the Giants, Raiders, and Redskins. Showing he can overcome line play and be consistent, Darnold just might be finding his footing in the NFL.