Packers notebook

McCarthy not apologizing for passing; Favre called for run; injury update

In the afterglow of starting the season 3-0, Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn't apologizing for his heavy dependency on Brett Favre, who completed 28 of 45 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay's upset win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

"It's a 50-50 chance, run and pass," McCarthy said. "You've got to be able to run the football when you have to run it. You've got to be able to throw when you have to throw it. That's the importance of offensive football. We feel in our offensive system that if we need to throw it a bunch, we will, and if we need to run it a bunch, we will. That's just the way we're designed."

The Packers' rookie running backs weren't griping, at least publicly, about the considerable lack of activity.

"Hey, whatever it takes to win the ballgame. I'm not mad," said Brandon Jackson, who had a team-high six carries for 22 yards. "I won't get upset if they did that the whole game. Whatever it takes to win."

But Green Bay's offensive line is hoping to convince their head coach that it can be reliable when it's time to rush the football.

"Obviously, we feel like our strength right now is passing the ball," right tackle Mark Tauscher said. "We'd like to gain the confidence of the coaching staff that we can hammer it in from one yard, but right now, that's not the case."

Of the team's 60 offensive plays against the Chargers, only 13 were on the ground. The Packers generated just 42 rushing yards in the 31-24 win.

Favre calls for run
The opportunity was six feet in front of him to take sole ownership of the league record for touchdown passes.

Brett Favre, though, beseeched head coach Mike McCarthy to play it safe and run the football after the Packers took over at the San Diego 2 following an interception and long return by linebacker Nick Barnett late in the game Sunday.

At the time, with 1:12 to play and the Packers ahead 24-21, Favre had thrown for three touchdowns to pull even with Dan Marino at 420.

"On that last little series, I said we've got to run the ball," Favre said. "Believe me, I think had we run a pass, it probably would have been a touchdown because everybody in the building assumed we were going to run it.

"But, it's not worth it. It's not worth taking that chance, the ball being picked, tipped or getting sacked, or I trip and fall. And, I can't believe I'm saying that."

So, to the dismay of the Lambeau Field crowd, Favre handed the ball off two straight times to rookie Brandon Jackson. He had back-to-back runs of one yard to reach the end zone and bump the lead to 31-21.

Jackson said he wasn't surprised a pass play wasn't called, thus delaying Favre's shot at surpassing Marino for at least a week, on the road to boot with Green Bay playing at Minnesota.

"We're just trying to win. It wasn't about Brett breaking the record; it was about us winning," Jackson said.

Best start since 2001
Only seven players on the Packers' 53-man roster were with the club in 2001, when it last was 3-0 before this season.

Veteran receiver Donald Driver couldn't recall what it was like to get off to such a hot start.

Long snapper Rob Davis, 38, said the impressive win earned down the stretch by the league's youngest team Sunday against an AFC stalwart is indicative that something special could be brewing.

The Packers had lost six straight games to visiting AFC opponents.

"If that's the measuring stick for Super Bowl contenders, I think we're a little bit closer than we thought we were," Davis said. "You can't ever really gauge yourself until you start playing the elite teams. It was a great opportunity for us."

Injury update
-- WR Donald Driver came out of Sunday's win over the Chargers with a sore knee. Driver limped back onto the field after being run out of bounds after a catch early in the fourth quarter. His status isn't known for the upcoming game at Minnesota.

-- RB DeShawn Wynn didn't finish the contest Sunday after suffering a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter.

-- RB Brandon Jackson required an ice pack on a bruised knee after the game.

-- FS Nick Collins suffered a bruised lower back in the third quarter but returned to finish the game.

-- CB Al Harris was laboring by the end of the game because of back spasms.

-- CB Charles Woodson also came out of the physical game worse for the wear with a hip flexor.

-- DE/DT Cullen Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him on two separate occasions in the second half. He finished the game but sustained a side injury.

-- RB Vernand Morency will try again Wednesday to see where he's at with his sore right knee, which has kept him out of the first three games.

Peter King on Favre
Here is longtime NFL writer Peter King's take in his Monday Morning Quarterback segment on on Brett Favre after Green Bay's win over San Diego on Sunday:

1. Favre's under control, Green Bay's won seven in a row, and the Pack is one of five unbeaten teams in football. And there's that record thing. "Wow," Favre said an hour or so after the Packers beat the Chargers 31-24. "It's been a long time since we played a big game and we said 'wow' at the end."

Favre turns 38 in two weeks, and it's like he can see the end of the line from here. He sounds so happy, so appreciative of having one last shot to be really good.

"I'm studying like I've never studied, preparing like I haven't prepared," he said. "The video guys have loaded all the tape on my computer, and I'm looking at it at home more than I ever have. This week, I was up 'til 11 o'clock working on the Chargers."

His coaches told him last spring to be less Favrian, less daring, and he's doing just that. Against the physically imposing Chargers, he had two negative plays -- two sacks, no interceptions -- while throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns.

"There may come a time when I think out of the box, but that time's not now because things are working too well,'' he said. "Now, dumping it off and letting guys run after the catch is working. It's great."

As for tying Dan Marino's record of 420 touchdown passes, Favre was properly deferential to Marino on Sunday ("I could throw for 600 and not be in his class") but he consistently lets it be known the numbers are fairly meaningless to him. He wants one more shot at January football.

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