Packer QBs have always been mobile

As Brett Favre continues to reflect on his future in Green Bay,'s Bob Fox reflects on the running prowess of Packer quarterbacks past, present and future.

The Packers of the Curly Lambeau era were predominantly a passing team. Why not with the great Don Hutson as part of the arsenal. Both Cecil Isbell and Arnie Herber were pass-first QBs that took advantage of the weapon they had in Hutson. Hutson put up incredible numbers during this time. He had 99 lifetime TD receptions, led the league in receiving eight times and in scoring five times.

The Packers of the 1950's were mostly a running team, especially at the QB position. Tobin Rote ran for 2,205 yards over his time in Green Bay, including 7 rushing touchdowns. The Packers of the 1950's were not very good. Ironically, when Rote was traded to the Detroit Lions by Green Bay in 1957, he led the Lions to their last NFL title.

The Packers of the 1960's were mostly a rushing team as well, but it also had a balanced passing game. The team also had an athletic QB in Bart Starr. Starr never gets enough credit regarding his mobility. He was never a scrambler. He was in fact, a pocket passer. But Starr had excellent mobility as evidenced by his career 1,062 rushing yards, which included 11 rushing touchdowns. Starr also had a post-season rushing TD you may remember - the infamous QB sneak in the Ice Bowl.

The Starr era came in two waves. One as a player. And one as a coach. The QB that played the most under Starr the coach was Lynn Dickey. Dickey will never be considered as a mobile QB, especially after the devastating leg injury he suffered late in the 1977 season. After that injury, Dickey was almost like a statue in the pocket. Still, Dickey had 9 rushing TDs in his Packer career. He averaged less than a yard a carry however, as he only rushed for 98 career yards in 129 attempts.

Then came the "Majik man" era with Don Majkowski. Majkowski had great mobility. He rushed for 1,037 yards in his six seasons as a Packer, including nine rushing touchdowns. The Majik man's best season both throwing and running came in the 1989 season. Not only did Majkowski put up prolific throwing numbers, but he rushed for 358 yards that season, including five rushing TDs. The Majik man used his legs as a weapon. Ironically, it was an ankle injury that Majkowski suffered early in the 1992 season that opened the door for Favre.

Favre has never looked back from that game, starting 221 straight since the Sunday that Majkowski went down. Favre is better known for his throwing skills as a QB for good reason. He has 395 career TD passes and more than 53,000 passing yards. But Favre, like many of his predecessors, has excellent mobility. As a 15-year veteran in the NFL, Favre had better mobility when he was younger.

During his career in Green Bay, Favre has rushed for 1,745 yards and 12 rushing TDs. Favre also ran for a TD in Super Bowl XXXI. The one I remember most is the 36-yard TD run against the Bears in the wind and the rain on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field during the 1994 season. Also, who can forget the game-winning scrambling TD against the Atlanta Falcons later that same season in the last Packer game ever played at Milwaukee County Stadium.

The Favre era is winding down. Some of us still believe it has a year or two left in it. The reigns will most likely be turned over to Aaron Rodgers when it's over. Rodgers looks to have decent mobility in the short time I have observed him. Rodgers ran for eight rushing TDs the two years he started at Cal, including 336 rushing yards. It is more important than ever to have a mobile QB in the NFL. The defenses are faster than ever and are more and more blitz happy.

The Packers have been fortunate to have had in the past, present and hopefully future, quarterbacks that are and were athletic enough to overcome these obstacles.

Bob Fox is a freelance writer from the Tampa, Fla. area and frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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