Couch an expensive insurance policy

Will Tim Couch be the one? Will he step in for the great Brett Favre and lead the Packers some day? Or is he an expensive insurance policy for this season in case the unthinkable happens and Favre is sidelined with an injury?<p>

The hunch from this corner is Couch will be in Green Bay for no more than one season unless the Packers win the Super Bowl. If that's the case, look for Favre to walk away from his Hall of Fame career like John Elway did a few years ago. After watching Favre in the recent off-season mini-camps, it appears that he can play for three or four more years at a Pro Bowl level if he desires. He is still one of the top passers in the game and his passion for the game remains alive and well.

Couch will soon be signing a one-year contract with the Packers for one reason - in case the ironman Favre suffers an injury that prevents him from extending his NFL-record starting streak for quarterbacks. The Packers reportedly will be paying Couch $1.25 million, which is a lot more than backup quarterbacks earn in the NFL but the going rate for the former No. 1 pick of the 1999 draft.

The move covers the Packers in case disaster strikes. Veteran Doug Pederson can still help the Packers in a pinch, but probably not over the long haul of an NFL season. Craig Nall showed more consistency in his passing in the June mini-camp, but is still too green to lead the Packers deep into the playoffs. Couch, once he learns the Green Bay offense, has the ability and experience to step in and lead the Packers, who just missed advancing to the NFC Championship Game last year.

If Favre again manages to avoid a major injury this year and the Packers play well but fall short of winning the Super Bowl, there is no reason to believe that he will not return to Green Bay in 2005. If that's the case, there also is no reason to believe that Couch will want to ride the bench for another season in Green Bay. He'll likely seek a starting job elsewhere.

While Pederson is the holder for Ryan Longwell and a friend of Favre, the Packers would be better served by retaining Nall ahead of Pederson, especially if Nall continues to improve during the preseason. Nall actually is in a better position to succeed Favre than Couch, but time and circumstances will dictate that move.

For now, Couch will back up Favre. If all goes well, Packer fans will never see Couch perform in a regular season game or playoffs, unless it is to take a knee in the final moments of a victory. If he's taking a knee in the Super Bowl, however, expect Couch to rise in 2005 as the leader of the Pack.

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