Favre still firing away

"I can't speak for those guys, but every week up until this point has been like a playoff game. I know they are 5-5 too, and have kind of bounced back and forth, fought and scratched and dug themselves into a deep hole and now have gotten back to respectability as we have. But, neither team can afford losses from here on out. It is kind of wide open in the NFC, but we need to keep applying pressure to these other teams. From that standpoint, they are like playoff games."

Q: How's your broken thumb doing?

Favre: I feel about the same as when I broke it against St. Louis. The swelling has basically gone down, but the break is still there. The X-rays really haven't shown it getting any worse, but not really any better either. There is a distinct break in it. I can't sit here and say that it hasn't affected me. If I look at the St. Louis game where I broke it in the third play and the Minnesota game where I threw the ball as good as I have thrown it, my decision-making obviously hasn't been affected by it. There have been some times, like Philly where the ball slipped out of my hands three times, where it could have been easy for me to say in my press conference after the game that, because of a broken thumb, the ball slipped. But, that wasn't the case. I think the conditions, on top of the splint I had to wear, probably played a part in it. If I'm able to go and play in those two tough environments and throw the ball the way I did, then I have to be able to do that everywhere else. Since I have broken my thumb since the St. Louis game, we are 2-1 and we are playing better. I'm just pleased that I am able to play. To be honest with you, I expect to play at a high level regardless. That will never change. I'm pleased that I can play because after the initial X-ray, I thought I was done.

Q: How do you approach playing when you aren't 100 percent healthy?

Favre: I feel like I am able to play for the most part as if nothing was wrong. There are some times when you question it, like Philly when the ball slipped out of my hands, but as I said, you point to the week before against Minnesota, which hasn't been good to me in the past, and I played one of my better games of the year. That was my first game back. So, you have something to lean on positively. If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere. Where you draw the line, like I said, I really don't know. I guess, two points. If the pain is too great to bear or if you feel like you can play and go out there, but you aren't able to do it and the ball doesn't come out the way you want it to. Then, either you have to make that decision or the coaches do. I don't think anyone in this building right now is overly concerned about it. I practiced every day last week and basically took every rep. I don't know if that was the smartest thing to do because up until last week, I hadn't done that and basically hadn't practiced at all. But, I tried to do it last week and practiced if nothing was wrong. I knew it was bothering me, and with a broken throwing thumb, it would be like a running back playing with a broken foot every week and practicing with it. So, I don't know how smart that is to do that. I don't think anyone is concerned about that in this building.

Q: Did you bang your thumb in last game?

Favre: Yeah, I did hit it on one of our guys shoulder pads during the end of the game last week. It hurt like hell when I did that, but I didn't know if I had further injured it or what. It hurt before then, and when I banged it, obviously there was more pain. The X-ray didn't show any further damage. As far as practice, I think the smart thing to do is to back off from practice a little. So, we're going to do that.

Q: What kind of importance do you place on your current streak of consecutive starts, the most by a quarterback in NFL history?

Favre: It is very important to me, in the sense that, I'm playing. I said this the week leading up to Minnesota. I enjoy playing. I love to play the game and compete. I want to be out there as long as I feel like I can help the team win, not simply because I am extending the streak. I think people wondered before I played Minnesota if I was doing it for the streak because once everyone found out my thumb was broken, they thought there was no way I could play. So, he's playing for one reason. But, when they saw the way I played, I think everyone believed in my confidence and that I was able to do that. It is not that I haven't been injured over the years, it is that the injuries have not been severe enough to keep me out. I've always felt like I could play effectively. I still needed to practice and try and practice one day to see if I could throw, which I was able to do. So, I did that. That is the only importance of the streak; that I am able to play. I just couldn't imagine sitting on the sidelines. I love to play the game and compete. I think it would hurt me worse to sit out.

Q: Do they still melt plastic over thumb to protect it?

Favre: Yes. It is a splint that week in and week out, we do melt and form fit to the back of my thumb. When put on and taped, it doesn't allow my thumb any movement aside from just one movement. It moves with the splint. The top joint right below the nail is where it is broken. Any movement within that joint is not only bad for the joint or broken bone itself, but there is also a lot of pain. When I move it as one, it restricts a little bit in my grip and release, but I'm able to throw and grip the ball and take snaps with a lot less pain.

Q: Is this the toughest injury you've had to endure for streak?

Favre: Yeah, I would think so. It's different because when you hurt a knee, like I tore my ligament in my knee last year, for a running back, he probably wouldn't have been able to play. For me, I don't run around a whole lot anyway, so I was basically stuck right there in the pocket and I was able to overcome it. With this, I'm able to move around fine and do all that stuff I normally do, but I'm dealing with my throwing hand. Anytime you deal with a shoulder, elbow, hands or fingers on your throwing side, there is obviously a lot of question because you just can't hand off the whole game. Up until game time, it was a play by play situation. I thought I was able to function as the game went on. The decision was made as the game went on.

Q: What kind of changes have you seen in the 49ers defense?

Favre: I tell you what, and we talked about it today, when we played St. Louis at St. Louis, I thought their defense, as did our coaches and our players, were about as intense a defense as you could face. Every play, when you stop the film, there were 11 guys around the ball. Now, this (San Francisco) is a different style of defense that we are facing, but they are the same way. They hustle, hustle and hustle. They are always around the ball. They give you great effort. I think Jim Mora is a very good defensive coordinator and has kind of built it (defense) from scratch. He and Mooch drafted well. They drafted the guys they wanted, which were some very talented guys. They have always played hard, but now they are playing with knowledge of what Jim is trying to do. It took Tampa years to develop into the defense that they are. I think this team is well on their way to becoming a premier defense.

Q: Is Green Bay more of a running team now?

Favre: Well, it's helped out tremendously, but at some point, we have to push the ball down the field. When you run the ball the way we are, and I think we are first in the NFL, you have to be able to get some chunks in the passing game. We're 5-5 and that is not Packers football at this point. I think that our run game has really kept us in it. Now, we've thrown the ball well for the most part. We haven't thrown for a lot of yardage, but our touchdowns are up. I think we have to counter with our passing game as we are with our run game. When teams are going to load up on the run, that doesn't mean they are going to stop it. We have to be able to counter with the pass game to take off chunks. When you are rushing for 200, 250 or 260, you can get by without getting a lot of chunks in the passing game. Our offensive line is dominating week in and week out. We dominated the line of scrimmage last week against the Super Bowl Champions. We did well against Philly, who haven't given up much in the pass game, and Minnesota, when we went into play them, they were hot, and we had struggled there in the past and we just dominated up front and rushed for 260 yards. That is intimidating in itself. From a quarterback standpoint, a lot of pressure is taken off when that is the case.

Q: With both teams 5-5, does it feel like a playoff game for both teams?

Favre: I can't speak for those guys, but every week up until this point has been like a playoff game. I know they are 5-5 too, and have kind of bounced back and forth, fought and scratched and dug themselves into a deep hole and now have gotten back to respectability as we have. But, neither team can afford losses from here on out. It is kind of wide open in the NFC, but we need to keep applying pressure to these other teams. From that standpoint, they are like playoff games.

Q: How well do you know Jeff Garcia and are you disappointed he might now start this weekend?

Favre: I don't know Jeff all that well, but I have a lot of respect for him. I think he is one tough football player. I know he is hurt right now, but I'm surprised that he has hung in here this long because he takes a pounding. He's not a real big guy, but he makes a lot of plays and he is fun to watch. He really fell in line with the other guys that have played there in Steve Young and Joe Montana. I have a lot of respect for him. He's a true competitor. I would love to see him play this week, but I'm more concerned about their defense.

Q: Why is Green Bay having trouble at home and does it have anything to do with refurbishing the stadium?

Favre: Well, I don't know. We've lost three at home and four if you count the playoff game last year. That is unheard of. It (stadium) has been a twelfth man for us here over the years, but we went 8-0 here last year in the regular season. Basically, the stadium was redone last year. You start grasping for straws and looking for reasons, but the bottom line is that we haven't finished a game the way we have to. We were up on Kansas City 31-14 in the fourth quarter and we lost in overtime. We had Philly beat and gave up a drive at the end of the game and lost that one. Minnesota jumped out to a huge lead on us and we came back and loss by five. It was too late. We just haven't finished games the way we should. With Minnesota, we didn't start the game the way we should've. They beat us to the punch. In today's game, you can lose at home or away, it doesn't matter. I think both teams can say that. Even though home has been good to us, it doesn't mean it will in the future. So, we just have to find a way to do it.

Q: Did you lose any respect for the 49ers in how they handled the firing of Steve Mariucci?

Favre: No. I was very surprised that Steve was fired. I have a great deal of respect for him and I still do. I think a lot of the players and fans feel the same way. But, I can't speak for the organization and why they did things. It's not my place to do that. I know they lost a great coach, but that is not to say that Erickson can't or will do the same thing. Their organization over the years has always been one of the best. It is not my place to say that either. I just know from experience that Steve is a great coach and friend of mine. They lost a great coach.


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