Favre fit, trim and prepared to win

So far, Mike Sherman's plan to ease Brett Favre into the 2005 season has been a great decision. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has been sharp as a tack passing the ball during training camp, and his enthusiasm for the game is as high as ever.

Favre reported to training camp at 217 pounds, down about eight pounds from his playing weight for most of his career. During a five-week stretch in May, Favre worked with a personal trainer at his home in Hattiesburg, Miss., to improve his conditioning. Sherman also excused Favre from the team's two off-season minicamps.

Five days into training camp, Favre has been winging tight spirals, scrambling for long runs and picking apart the defense in "red zone" drills.

"His arm is alive," Sherman remarked after practice on Tuesday. "Particularly in the last couple of practices he had a good ‘red zone' period and is as crisp as I've ever seen him this early. We'll give him a little bit more as we go, but I'm not anxious to do that just yet."

Sherman continues to bring Favre along slowly, practicing him in the morning sessions only. Favre has not practiced in the afternoon, but is present and active relaying plays to backups Craig Nall, J.T. O'Sullivan and Aaron Rodgers.

"It's obvious why I have him on the headphones," Sherman said. "He's giving the play, reciting the play, talking to the quarterback. It keeps him involved in the game. It's been good for Brett, for the quarterbacks and for us in general."

Favre's workout program centered around the core region of his body, or his torso. The point of the workouts is to make him stronger when he is twisting and turning, trying to make plays.

"He's one year older, but he certainly doesn't look that way to me," Sherman said. "He's lighter. He seems quicker on his feet. He had a nice 40-yard run the other day in practice. It about gassed him, but he did it. He looked pretty nifty, but he's still not going to be Michael Vick running the football. We don't expect that just yet, but he sure as hell can be Brett Favre throwing the football."

Favre seems to have put a trying year-and-a-half behind him and is focused on football, and ready to help the Packers reach the playoffs. His wife, Deanna, has undergone successful treatment of breast cancer this off-season. Last December, his good friend and former teammate Reggie White died at his home in North Carolina. Last September, Deanna's brother died in an ATV accident, and Favre's father, Irvin, died of a heart-attack in December of 2003.

"I was trying my best. I knew I was expected, like we all are, to do a job in the face of adversity and tragedy," Favre said. "I tried to never use those things as an excuse."

During his press conference Tuesday, Favre was realistic enough about this year's team to set the bar a little lower than winning the Super Bowl, as he stated last season about this time.

"I don't see any reason why we shouldn't compete for the playoffs," said Favre. "If we can get in and we're hot, who knows?"

With Favre in tip-top shape, the Packers always have a chance.

"I've always said this about Brett Favre: A team with Brett Favre on it is a team with hope," Sherman said.

Todd Korth

Note: Todd Korth is managing editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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