Maybe Nall knows something we don't know

Craig Nall signed with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in hopes of winning the starting quarterbacking job. Did he leave the Green Bay Packers because he knew he'd have no chance to win the job, because that remains firmly in the hands of Brett Favre?

It's time for everyone's favorite game, "What Does This Mean For Brett Favre?"

Not a move happens out of 1265 Lombardi Ave. without a good portion of Packers fans trying to get a gauge on whether or not that clears any of the smoke surrounding Favre's future.

The Nall case, however, may clear more smoke than anything else.

First, Nall and Favre are friends. They are Southern boys, after all.

Second, if Favre elects to play the 2006 season, then Nall almost certainly would have been banished to third-string status for the second consecutive year behind Favre and last year's first-round draft pick, Aaron Rodgers.

But ...

While Rodgers was ahead of Nall on the depth chart last season, that doesn't necessarily mean Rodgers was a better quarterback than Nall. Keep in mind how game-day rosters are formulated. Teams have 53 players on their roster, but only 45 can be activated. A 46th can be a No. 3 quarterback, but he can only play if the first- and second-stringers are done for the day.

That was Nall's role last season.

However, Rodgers was the back-up holder to B.J. Sander. I remember one practice inside the Hutson Center. The Packers were auditioning holders. When it was Nall's turn, Ryan Longwell's first attempt at an extra point was kicked right into the rear end of his center. It happened again a few kicks later.

While Sander won the holder's job, Rodgers proved more than adequate. And that played a role in ex-coach Mike Sherman's decision to have Rodgers be his No. 2 quarterback. If Nall had been the No. 2 and Sander got hurt, the Packers' kicking game would have been in shambles.

While Rodgers improved as a quarterback as the season went on — at least that's what the Packers said — it's hard to imagine, had Favre been injured, he would have been the guy to start a game the next week. Nall knew the offense, and in very limited action in 2004 — mostly in mop-up duty in a pair of blowout losses, but he did lead the team for most of the season finale at Chicago — he shined.

So, the million-dollar question: Does Nall know something the rest of us don't know? Has Nall talked to Favre, and did Favre tell him that, yes, he plans on playing the 2006 season?

Who knows? But it's a plausible theory, especially if you think this is some sort of master plot by the Packers to keep the rest of the league guessing about their plans and needs on draft day. Do you really think Favre would leave the team in limbo as all the good and half-way decent quarterbacks are gobbled up in free agency?

I don't think he would, either. So perhaps the Packers know and Nall knows, and we're left to play the "What Does This Mean For Brett Favre?" game.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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