Favre keeps faith in offense

During a Wednesday news conference, Packers quarterback Brett Favre said he wasn't surprised by his young offensive line's struggles against the Chargers Saturday, but says his blockers must pick up the pace — especially in the run game — for the team to be successful.

Brett Favre did not announce his retirement during a news conference that started at noon Wednesday at Lambeau Field. In fact, he says he hasn't even considered retiring, even after running for his life and taking an unusual number of hits behind a porous offensive line during Saturday's preseason opener at San Diego.

"I'm very satisfied with the decision I made (to play another season," Favre said. "I'm sure a lot of people watching the game the other night were thinking, ‘I bet he's thinking he'd rather be at home.' That's not true. I'm committed to this decision, I'm comitted to helping this team win, regardless of who we have."

Favre gave his embattled offensive line a vote of confidence, but also said the blocking must get better in a hurry.

"I think they'll do fine," Favre said. "Sure, I would expect in that game for us to protect better, but first go-around, I try to think back to my first go-around and it probably wasn't too pretty, either. They gave great effort. It's a new offense, and it showed. I'm hoping, as well as everybody else, that we get better."

The key to the season is the play of the offensive line, which was revamped on Monday with the benching of left guard and second-round pick Daryn Colledge, the move of third-round pick Jason Spitz from right guard to left guard, and the insertion into the starting lineup of fifth-round pick Tony Moll at right guard.

If the line can open holes for the run game, then the Favre-led passing attack has a chance to be successful. If not, then the entire offense will be thrown again on Favre's right arm. While Favre admits he "loves to pass the ball," even he recognizes that's a recipe for a 2005-style disaster.

"Mike Holmgren used to say, ‘If we have to throw it 40 times, we're going to lose.' That's not the way you win in this league," Favre said. "If you look across the league and over the history, if you throw it 40 times, not only are you getting sacked, but there's more opportunities for interceptions, tipped balls and protection problems. (Offenses must) mix run game with play action via manageable down and distances. How do you do that? You do that by running the ball. Even if it's just three yards a pop, it's better than throwing it every time."

The Packers couldn't even get those three yards per rush on Saturday. The Packers averaged 2.4 yards per attempt, and nearly half of their rushing yards — 21 of 44 — came on scrambles by backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Still, while Favre was discouraged, he managed to find some positives.

First, the Chargers play a 3-4 defensive alignment while the Packers have been practicing only against 4-3 defenses, which the entire NFC North — Green Bay included — runs.

"I know we're committed to the run game," Favre said. "I would have liked, as (offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski) and (coach) Mike (McCarthy), I'm sure, would have liked to have seen us run the ball better, but I'm not surprised by it. We were playing a difficult defense, not only personnel wise but by scheme. All the things we had been studying up to that point in blocking scheme was more for a three-down team, not a four-down team. Our guys were just starting to kind of get it against a four down. So, I'm not surprised by it."

Secondly, while Favre was unable to lead the Packers to a score, the offense did manage three first downs in his final series, and might have scored had Greg Jennings not dropped a fourth-and-2 pass inside the Chargers' 10-yard-line.

"I actually wanted to continue playing to get something going, and we did get something going, and that was a positive thing," Favre said. "Maybe if we have another series, we continue to improve. I think that's evidence that you participate in game-like activities, you get better and you get a little confidence. That's what we need, especially offensive line. There's no substitute for playing in a game. You are going to make mistakes, but the only way you're going to get better is to learn from them."

Favre is happy with the transition to McCarthy, who was Favre's quarterbacks coach in 1999. While communication seemed a problem between Favre and the staff of former coach Mike Sherman, that hasn't been the case so far.

"He knows what I run well. I think I have got a pretty good feel for what he likes to run. And we've been communicating," Favre said. "We had some good conversations this morning about some of the things we want to do, not just in this game but in the future.

"That's what happened with Mike Holmgren and myself. The first couple years, there was not a lot of communication. He had been dealing with (Joe) Montana and (Steve) Young, and those guys were experienced. Some of the same things they ran well, I didn't have a grasp. When we got on the same level and (Holmgren) got a feel for what I ran well, we kind of eliminated this or added that, and I really believe that's where (McCarthy) and I are on the same page right now."

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

Packer Report Top Stories