Accuracy an issue

McCarthy, Favre still confident in throwing the deep ball

As predictable as the Packers have become on offense, what with no rushing attack to speak of, what they can ill afford going forward after the bye is to have Brett Favre start showing his true age.

The 38-year-old's durable right arm was put under the media microscope as the team began preparations this week for the Monday night game at Denver.

When the Packers were last seen on a game day, they pulled out a 17-14 win over Washington on Oct. 14, in spite of repeated underthrows of deep passes by Favre. Two of his uglier ones, both of which had plenty of air time, resulted in interceptions by Sean Taylor when the intended receivers were wide open.

"I could have played much better against Washington, but that was one of those at the end of the game (you go), 'Whew! Thank God we won.' (The outcome) had nothing to do with me," Favre said Tuesday. "When I watched the film, I was very unimpressed with the way I played. I was just off."

Up until that game, Favre wasn't put in a position of having to throw more than a couple deep balls. Second-year coach Mike McCarthy, in his master plan to keep Favre's torrent of miscues to a minimum, has been meticulous about scripting a play sheet each week heavy on the short-throw tenets of a traditional West Coast scheme.

Defensive coordinators, however, are getting wise to McCarthy's play-calling, especially when he has a league-worst running game leaving him with only one resort. The Redskins' Gregg Williams took away Favre's bread-and-butter slants and crosses, prompting McCarthy to wind up his gunslinger's arm and go vertical.

The deep ball is far down the list on Favre's Hall of Fame repertoire, and he didn't change anyone's assessment with his nearly disastrous performance against Washington.

"Several of those balls, I thought it was actually going to be overthrown, and it ended up 10 yards shorter than where I had intended. Why? I have no idea," Favre said. "I know I can throw farther than that, and I know can throw harder. But, for whatever reason that day, it was, I don't want to say a misjudgment or a miscalculation on my part ... I just threw it (and) thought, 'Boy, I hope this is not overthrown.' That's not happened to me very often."

McCarthy swears Favre, after making more than 9,000 regular-season and postseason throws in his 17-year pro career, can do more good than harm with the deep ball.

"Absolutely," McCarthy said Tuesday. "He had a big-time throw just (Monday) in practice -- a 55-, 60-yard throw. He has plenty of arm strength left."

Accuracy is another issue, however.

If defenses are going to be hell-bent on taking the underneath stuff away from the Packers' one-dimensional scheme, how Green Bay finishes after returning from the bye with a 5-1 record could hinge on whether Favre connects for a home run or falls well short of the fence, er, receiver.

"Don't write some story that (says), 'He's at the end of his rope now; he can't throw it,'" Favre said. "That's probably what you're getting at -- 'Favre's done.'

"I didn't that day (against Washington), but I still feel like I throw it as well as I've always done. I think my arm is the reason I'm still standing here in front of you today. Hopefully, if called upon, next time I can make those throws."


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