The quarterback position has been one of stability but yet uncertainty in recent seasons for the Green Bay Packers. How much longer will Brett Favre play? Only the legendary veteran knows, but for 2006 he'll take another shot at leading the Packers.
Favre is coming off his most disappointing season with the Packers. He threw a career-high 29 interceptions within an offense that was decimated by injuries at three skill positions - wide receiver, running back and tight end.
Now, the big question: Can Favre and the Packers bounce back under new head coach Mike McCarthy and a West Coast scheme that is different Mike Sherman's version? The short answer: yes.
Favre should be able to thrive in a zone-blocking scheme with an emphasis on running the ball. Last year, the future Hall of Famer tried to push the envelope a little too much, and often got burned. Expect McCarthy to limit Favre by utilizing Samkon Gado and Ahman Green, and tight end Bubba Franks as much as possible. This should allow wide receiver Donald Driver to shed double-coverages and become a prime target once again for Favre.
How well Favre performs in the offense is up to him. He admitted last week that it has been a challenge for him to learn the terminology of the new offense. Many of the plays are the same, but the names are different, so Favre will have to iron out those kinks in training camp. If he doesn't, communication could be a problem when the regular season begins.
Backup Aaron Rodgers is much farther ahead than Favre in learning the offense. The second-year pro remained in Green Bay this off-season and attended McCarthy's "Quarterbacks School" in March and April. The extra time with the coach has given Rodgers a leg up on Favre in knowledge, but not status. Unless Favre, who has started an NFL record for quarterbacks 221 straight games (241 including playoffs), is injured, Rodgers will continue to be the No. 2 quarterback.
The time Rodgers has spent behind Favre has been valuable. Rodgers has a noticeably stronger arm this year. He has been completing some difficult deep passes to receivers in practice, and in general, is much more confident than he was a year after he was the Packers' top draft pick.
Ingle Martin, selected by the Packers with the first of two fifth-round picks in the NFL draft in April, has been taking the snaps with the third-string offense in the mini-camps and Organized Team Activities practices. Martin has displayed good arm strength and a fairly good knowledge of the offense.
Unless he completely falls on his face in training camp, Martin will win the job as third-string quarterback. The fact that he also can serve as an emergency backup punter will increase his value. Martin handled the punting duties while at Furman.
Tom Arth, who signed in March as a free agent from Indianapolis, and Brian Wrobel will push Martin for the No. 3 spot, or a spot on the team's eight-man practice squad. Neither of the two have taken any snaps with the offense in team drills during practices this off-season.