Couch dives into Packers playbook

Tim Couch's cram session is under way. Shortly after he stepped off the plane in Green Bay this morning, the quarterback met with his new coaches and players, then hit the practice field inside the Don Hutson Center across the street from Lambeau Field to begin learning the offense.<p>

Couch has between now and the opening of training camp on July 29 to get familiar with Green Bay's offense. Fortunately for Couch, the sixth-year pro has the experience of adjusting to offenses in a hurry. He became a starter for the expansion Browns during Week 2 of his rookie season in 1999. In 2001, he had to adjust to a new offense under Butch Davis, who replaced Chris Palmer as head coach.

"From going through a couple of different offenses you pick up on things a lot quicker than you do when you're a rookie or a second-year guy," Couch told the Green Bay media today. "The experiences I've had and the offenses that I've learned makes things a lot easier for me to pick up, so hopefully I can get this offense down pretty quick."

Couch, 26, said that the Packers' offense is different in style than the offenses he learned in Cleveland, but many of the formations are familiar. Still, he admits that there is a lot for him to learn within the next six weeks.

"It's a little overwhelming," Couch said. "It's a thick playbook. It's a lot to learn. It's a tough offense to learn, but just being in the NFL for a long time and having a lot of experiences is going to help me pick that up. I've ran a lot of the same plays, it's just different terminology."

Couch plans to spend time in Green Bay "on and off" between now and the start of training camp with quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell. In between watching film and memorizing plays, he plans to throw passes to any wide receivers who are onhand working out. When two-a-day drills begin on Aug. 2, he will be competing against veteran Doug Pederson, a former teammate in Cleveland, third-year pro Craig Nall, and rookie Scott McBrien for the backup job to Favre. Learning from Favre is one of the main reasons why Couch chose to sign a one-year, $1.25 million deal with Green Bay and pass over five other teams where he might have a better chance to start this season. Couch said Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco were among teams that showed interest upon his release from the Browns on June 11.

But Couch opted for the Packers, who are trying to win their third straight NFC North Division title and challenge for the NFC crown this season. He will only play in the regular season if Favre suffers a serious injury, or in garbage time. If Favre walks away from the game after this season, he'll be in position to succeed the future Hall of Famer. If not, he has the option of taking what he learned from Favre and the Packers in Green Bay and signing with another team as an unrestricted free agent in 2005, or re-signing with the Packers.

"The opportunity to be on a team like this is exciting to me," Couch said. "I haven't had the opportunity to be on many great teams. I think this team has a chance to go to the Super Bowl and that's exciting to me even though I'm probably not going to be out on the field, but just getting a chance to learn from Brett and watching him. I think it's going to make me a better player and I think I can contribute to the team knowing my role as a back-up and just helping out in any way I can."

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