Q: Do these games against the 49ers ever get old?
Favre: No. It seems like every time we play them, it is a big game and both teams are doing well, which I think is attributed to both organizations…their ability to keep teams together. Of course, Mooch, although he's a great friend of mine and we're close, he's done an outstanding job out there. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves. It seems like every time we play him, it's a big game.
Q: Do you feel a little bit more a comfort level when playing Mooch. You seem to play well against the 49ers?
Favre: For the most part, I have played well against San Francisco, but several of those, Mooch was my coach. I can't say that I play comfortable just against him. For whatever reason, I just play well against those guys.
Q: Have you watched much film from the 49ers game against Dallas?
Favre: I haven't watched any of that game. I just watched some Seattle and Philly tape, but I'm sure we'll get to that.
Q: They made some dramatic changes at defense with Peterson playing four spots and Mike Rumph playing some safety. Do you have an idea of how important it is for you guys to diagnose what they are doing defensively before attacking them?
Favre: You can kind of run yourself ragged trying to figure out teams that do those types of things on defense. What we have to do is be real sharp in what we're doing, then adjust as the game goes on. I don't want to say that we're not going to prepare for different schemes and guys being in different positions, but once again, you can over-coach or over-analyze things and that is what we're trying not to do. They typically mix up coverages. They mix up defensive fronts and looks for a reason. It gives you a lot different things to work on and think about. The bottom line is, of the teams we've played so far in watching film, they are the second-most disciplined team on defense that we will face…number one being Tampa. They almost can become un-disciplined. It could happen if you mix it up too much. When they play their defense, what they typically play, they are as disciplined as we'll face all year. So, I don't anticipate them doing too much different because they want to be real sound in what they are doing and they are really sound.
Q: When you talk about discipline, what exactly are you talking about?
Favre: If they are playing cover 2, guys don't get out of position…safeties play the correct way, the corners don't back up and play it like cover 3. He has a flat responsibility and he stays in that flat. For example, with Tampa's cover 2, they spot drop. They drop to a spot and they stay there and if a guy gets in that zone, they react to it. The backside backer doesn't overplay and play the front side backer's position. If you look right as a quarterback, most guys can get undisciplined and get out of there zone. They don't do that. Talking about San Francisco, when they play cover 3, they play cover 3, it doesn't end up being cover 2, or a version of one of the other. They play very sound in what they are doing.
Q: Why do you think they haven't been more successful?
Favre: Probably injuries. I can speak first-hand about that. They don't have the starting 11 that they went into the season with. When you lose certain guys in certain areas, it's like losing a middle linebacker, it's like losing a free safety, quarterback, or center. It's kind of the eye of the storm. You lose that and everything just falls apart. I think that is what has hurt them. It's hurt them in some ways, but they still have won their division and played extremely well. They have, like we have, put guys in there who have played well and not missed a beat. You do wish you had your guys that you started the season with, but it is part of the game. I think that probably, more so than anything, the reason that they haven't been as successful, if you want to say that.
Q: How different are they defensively compared to a few years ago when they faced you at your place and they had a bunch of rookies out there on the field?
Favre: I remember talking to Steve after the game last year and he just said that they were beat up, they were really young, and he was really impressed with the way the guys played all year. He said he was surprised that they had gotten as far as they did with such a young defense. My response to him was, ‘They may be young on paper, but they played like veterans and played extremely hard.' The one thing about teams across the league is that there is no substitute for playing hard. Young guys will make mistakes, but if they play hard from snap to whistle, there is no substitute for it. You will win so many more games that way. There is nothing more fun to watch than watching a bunch of young guys fly around and just be happy to be there and giving everything they have. That is the way San Francisco has played and that is really no different now. The only difference is that there are some faces that have been around for awhile. Really, that is the only thing you can say is different because they still play as hard. That is one thing you are going to see when you play San Francisco and when you watch them on television…guys fly around and play extremely hard.
Q: You guys had a tough game last week. Do you think the injuries are catching up to you guys?
Favre: At some point, if you keep losing guys or guys are playing hurt, it has to affect you at some time. The last two games have been nail-biters, especially here at home. Teams that we expected to win, we had to fight and call our way back in the fourth quarter to win. There are some pros and cons to that. You can't expect to win games like that week in and week out, but we have won those contests. It says a lot about the resiliency of this team to overcome the injuries. We're sort of like ‘Frisco.' We just keep hanging on and we keep fighting. We play hard. We've had a lot of injuries and guys have stepped in and some of those guys have gotten hurt and other guys have had to step in. Yeah, you do miss your guys, but we played hard and just hung in there. One thing about the NFL is that there are no easy games. I don't care what people say. You can't look past anyone. I don't think this team has ever done that and that is one of the reasons that we are 10-3. We just kind of hung on and faced every team like it is the toughest opponent you'll face all year. Injuries are a part of it. They have been a factor for our team, but we're not going to complain.
Q: When was the last time you spent time with Mooch?
Favre: It's been awhile. I talk to him several times a year or we leave messages for one another. Not only is it across the country, he has a very busy job as well. He's my best friend, if not one of the best friends that I have. He's almost like a father figure and a brother at the same time. Even though we have to play against each other, I still have a tremendous amount of respect and love for him and that will never change.
Q: Did you kind of help talk him through the coaching situation he was going through in January and February with the options he was facing with the Bucs?
Favre: My stance has always been to try and get him here. We have a damn good coach here now and I know that's not going to work out, but back when we were looking for a coach, I fought tooth and nail to get him here. I did everything I could do. I don't know if he told any of you guys, but I was willing to give up money to either keep him here or bring him back. It just didn't work out. This off season I know he was weighing his options and I didn't want to bother him with that.
Q: The playoff format, given the changes in realignment, you guys can potentially finish 13-3 and yet not get a bye. What are your thoughts on this new format and do you think it takes some of the luster out of winning your division and having a stellar record?
Favre: I really didn't pay much attention to it and probably won't. I'm just pleased we are in and that is just the way it goes. You can't really dwell on stuff that is going to be around for awhile. That's the new rules and they added another team. The realignment has made it easier for a lot of teams and you just got to live with it.
Q: Is there a part of you that is glad in a sense that you never had Steve as a head coach because there is that different dynamic as a head coach?
Favre: No, I would have still loved to have the opportunity to play for him. I could never think of one day where I could say that I was glad he wasn't my head coach.
Q: I meant from the sense that you guys got to know one another a lot better because he was your position coach rather than your head coach?
Favre: If he had been my head coach, I would have respected him as much as I have with Holmgren and my other coaches. The way it has to work, you know the whole saying, ‘too many chiefs not enough indians', that holds true. I mean, best friends, no best friends, whatever. There has to be some hierarchy and you have to abide by it. We would have worked well together. If I would have ever had a problem, he would have known about it and no one else would have. That is just my nature. I think that is the only way you can run a business. I would have loved to have gotten the opportunity.
Q: What do you think makes him a good head coach?
Favre: First and foremost, with any good head coach, aside from the X's and O's is that you have to be a people person. The players have to want to win for you and want to play for you and run through a wall. I know that those guys feel that way. I'm not in the locker room and not in team meetings, but I know they feel that way. There always may be one stray dog or something, but they will always want to win for Steve. Once you have that down, then the sky is the limit. He has great knowledge of the offensive passing game. He has great knowledge of using the guys to the best of their ability and to the team's ability. He's just easy going. He has a lot of fun. Part of the success to this game is having fun. It's a long season. It's a grind even when you are winning. When you can break it down and have a little fun, it eases the tension a little bit and he's able to do all of that.