Can Strahan be stopped?

Stopping – or at least slowing down - dominating defensive end Michael Strahan of the New York Giants is near the top of Sunday's to do list for the Packers.<p>

"Winning the game is always the most important thing, but if we can control him to some degree, that will go a long way in getting that done," Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman said Wednesday, as the Packers prepared for their regular season finale against the Giants at Giants Stadium.

Strahan leads the NFL with 21.5 sacks, just a half-sack from tying the official NFL record of 22, set by New York Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau in 1984. Strahan also recorded 14 sacks in 1997 and 15 in 1998.

"He's a great pass rusher, but he also has been huge in the running game," Sherman said about the 6-foot-5, 275-pound, nine-year veteran. "He's really an all-around player. He's one of, if not the best, defensive player in the league."

"I'm proudest of being a multi-dimensional player," said Strahan, 30. "I'm just as happy getting a good tackle as I am getting a sack. Getting the record would be almost bittersweet. I'd trade it for a spot in the playoffs any day."

The Giants – the defending NFC champs - were eliminated last week when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Going against Strahan will be second-year right tackle Mark Tauscher and veteran Earl Dotson, if right guard Marco Rivera needs relief from playing with a broken hand and Tauscher switches to guard. "If Marco needs a break, we will offer that to him," Sherman said. "But you have to be conscious of what he (Strahan) is and where he is. He's a relentless player."

Strahan will go against an offensive line that has protected quarterback Brett Favre well this season. Favre, who avoids the pass rush as well as any quarterback in the NFL, has been sacked 21 times this year, by far the lowest in his 10-year career.

"Maybe we'll give him the record early, then ask him to take three quarters off," joked Favre on Wednesday. "No one man's going to beat us, but he can come awfully close. We'll do all we can to keep him out, but I don't know if we'll be able to keep away from the record."

The Packers line has been inconsistent in stopping outstanding individual pass rushers. The offensive line controlled Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp in two games this season, but Jacksonville's Tony Brackens and Tennessee's Jeavon Kearse had big games against Green Bay.

"Protecting the quarterback is one of the most important things they can do," Sherman said about the line. "They are among the leaders in sacks allowed, but we'll be challenged this week with the NFL sack leader."


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