Favre has to settle down

Quarterback hurting offense with questionable throws

Just when you think that Brett Favre is playing within himself and within the framework of Green Bay's skeleton offense, he reverts to his gunslinger ways. This is what makes Favre entertaining, but this also has translated into mistakes this season that has cost the Packers victories.

Favre slipped up again a few times on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Packers lost another close one, 19-14.

Favre has been one of the most accurate passers in the NFL this season, but he obviously was not on target for most of the game against the Eagles. He was intercepted twice, raising his season total to 19, two short of his total of 21 in 2003 and five shy of his career high set in 1993. Favre finished with a 46.4 passer rating, his lowest since the Packers were blown out by Philadelphia last year about this time.

Sunday against the Eagles, both of Favre's interceptions came on throws that he didn't need to make. Favre was actually intercepted twice on Green Bay's final drive of the game, but the Packers got a break when linebacker Trent Cole was penalized for roughing the passer on a pass that was picked off by cornerback Roderick Hood. Favre moved the Packers to Philadelphia's 45 with short, high-percentage passes. After a false start penalty on second down moved Green Bay to the 50, Favre scrambled to get away from Pro Bowl defensive end Javon Kearse then heaved a prayer into the end zone for wide receiver Robert Ferguson. There was one problem: Ferguson was well covered and actually had to push a defender out of the way in order to have a chance at the ball, which was intercepted again by Hood.

"I was trying to make a play," Favre said afterward. "Ferguson was running deep, and I just tried to take a shot."

A Hail Mary with 49 seconds still left on the clock? It was second down. If Favre makes a better decision, even runs out of bounds on the play, the Packers have a much better chance of winning the game. For whatever reason, Favre continues to fire the ball deep downfield despite the fact that he has no weapons aside from Donald Driver. It doesn't make sense, and it's a big reason why the Packers have lost some close games this season.

The game-clinching interception by Hood was similar to safety Michael Lewis' interception in the end zone in the first half. The Packers moved the ball from their own 23 to Philadelphia's 31 behind Samkon Gado and shorter passes by Favre. After Gado converted a fourth-and-one by an inch, Favre threw into the end zone toward tight end Donald Lee but was off the mark and the ball was intercepted by Lewis, killing a scoring opportunity.

Earlier in the week, former Packers general manager Ron Wolf told a Milwaukee newspaper that Favre has nobody to throw the ball to. Wolf said the offense is left with "NFL Europe caliber" players. Wolf is right, so why Favre throwing deep as if Javon Walker is on the field?

If Favre can just settle down a little, scale his gunslinging to a minimum, or eliminate it completely, the Packers will benefit, and they will drastically increase their chances to win in the final five games of this season.

Favre doesn't have to be the main play-maker for the Packers to succeed. But he does have to make sure that the offense plays within itself. When he takes unnecessary shots that result in interceptions, the Packers simply do not have enough talent to rebound.

"You take some chances and sometimes they go your way sometimes they don't," Favre said. "I really felt confident. There's been numerous times this year where I've felt confident."

Confidence is one thing, and Favre, no doubt, is confident in his abilities. That's what makes him a great athlete. But he has to be a little smarter, a little more cautious considering the players around him.

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

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