Ex-MVP lends advice to young Packer QB's

Former NFL MVP Rich Gannon evaluated the Green Bay Packers' quarterbacks on Friday as a guest of head coach Mike McCarthy. Gannon, who played with the Kansas City Chiefs when McCarthy was quarterbacks coach from 1995-98, gave the younger Packer quarterbacks some advice during a 45-minute talk prior to practice.

"I told them some of the things that I wouldn't share when I was playing. I never shared my repertoire and some of the things I did to help me prepare for games when I was playing with other players in the league," Gannon said. "But I shared it with them in hopes that they will be able to take something from that, especially the younger guys. There's not a whole lot I can say to a guy like Brett Favre, you know what I mean? But with these younger quarterbacks hopefully some of the things I said will hit home and help them prepare for games."

Gannon, 40, also had a message for second-year quarterback Aaron Rodgers: Put the heat on Favre in practice by trying to outperform his Future Hall of Fame teammate.

"Do whatever you can to help him out," Gannon said. "But I think the best thing you can do to a guy like Brett Favre is challenge him, you know what I mean? Compete against him, you know what I mean. Don't get comfortable and say, ‘Well, Brett is the guy.' That's not going to help the football team, that's not going to help yourself and it won't help Brett. Get out here every day and go seven for seven in the team period. Complete every throw in a blitz period. Use the two-minute drive and take them down for a score. Put pressure on Brett, you know what I mean? Brett doesn't need that pressure, but that's how you help Brett get better. Competition brings out the best in all of us."

Gannon retired from the Oakland Raiders in 2005 after sustaining a serious neck injury in Week 3 of the 2004 season. He started nearly every game for four years from 1999-2002. During that time he won the NFL's Most Valuable Player award and worked his way up the all-time Raiders list statistically. After tearing his labrum midway through the 2003 season, he absorbed a hit from Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks that resulted in a fractured vertebra in his neck.

Gannon credited McCarthy with teaching him how to watch film and prepare for games, and said there was never a doubt in his mind that McCarthy would become a head coach.

"He's the guy that really helped catapult my career. I played seven years in the league and went to Kansas City and really jump-started my career there. He was the guy that really taught me the West Coast system of football. He taught me how to prepare for a game. He taught me how to watch film, how to break down an opponent, how to study. It was really those things I took with me to Oakland. There's was never a doubt in my mind he would be a head coach.He's a tough guy. He's willing to do the work and he's a leader. I think he'll do a phenomenal job here."

Favre wasn't at the meeting Friday. Gannon said Favre is still at the top of his game and should have a big year.

"I look at two things. I look at his legs, and I look at his arm," Gannon explained. "With his legs, does he still have the ability to step up into the pocket? Does he still have the ability to get out on the edge to show that quickness and burst. Brett certainly has that ability. In fact, he's most dangerous when he's out of the pocket. Secondly, can he still make all the difficult throws. Does he still have the timing with the touch throws? Can he pump the ball up and down the seam? In my opinion, he's still at the top of his game and getting more comfortable with the new system. I expect a big year out of Brett." Gannon will join the television-broadcast team with Kevin Harlan for Packers preseason games this year.

"His experiences that he has endured through 17 years of playing quarterback I think is a definite advantage," McCarthy said of Gannon. "The young quarterbacks really enjoyed it and appreciated it.

"It was an opportunity to learn, and we took advantage of that."

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