First, an apology to all the people out there who are sick of Brett Favre. If you don't want to hear another word — even with a juicy Green Bay angle — then hit the "back" button on your browser.
OK, for those of you who are still with me: It's hard to ignore what coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this week in light of an ESPN report that said Favre has "little support" in the Minnesota Vikings locker room.
If true, that Favre enjoys "little support" certainly isn't a shock. After spending a bunch of summers and falls in locker rooms in high school and college, nobody appreciated the presence of someone who essentially was given a free pass by the coaches. You win and lose as a team, and that means putting in the time together February through August, not just mid-August through December or January.
Of course, all of this August bellyaching from anonymous players in Minnesota will mean nothing if Favre, circa 2007, lights up opposing defenses and the Vikings play like Super Bowl contenders. If that's the case, there will be players lined up from one end of the locker room to the another for the chance to hand-wash Favre's jock strap. Outspoken Hall of Famer Frank Tarekenton probably will be at the front of the line.
What was more interesting were the comments from McCarthy and Rodgers this week.
On Tuesday, Rodgers was asked if he's embracing his leadership position as he enters his second season as the starter.
"It just helps when you have the confidence of the guys and the respect of the guys," he said. "I don't think that's something that you get right away, and I wouldn't expect it, especially with the older guys. They want to see you playing — play 16 games, play at a level that they're satisfied with, stay healthy. And then you can't help but follow or believe in someone who's there — in my opinion — who's there 95-plus percent of the offseason. It's the same way with anybody else in this room. You feel like you can count on a guy who's been here since the beginning of the offseason with you, just like about 95 percent of the guys in here have. When you get that kind of commitment from your teammates, there's a different attitude the way you look at them and being able to believe in them and know that they're in it for the right reasons."
Rodgers never mentioned Favre and it's impossible to know whether his predecessor was on his mind with comments like believing in someone who was "there 95-plus percent of the time" or "in it for the right reasons."
Regardless, if it's true that Favre has "little support" in the Vikings' locker room and that many players prefer Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels to be the quarterback, then those players certainly would be wondering about Favre's commitment.
Then, on Wednesday, McCarthy was asked about the new dynamic in the NFC North, with Favre signed by Minnesota, Jay Cutler acquired in Chicago and Matthew Stafford drafted in the first round by Detroit. It was an innocent question about marquee quarterbacks that started with a nondescript answer.
"Having a good quarterback really is a big part of having success," McCarthy said. "I think every team in the league is trying to improve their football team, and you never have enough quarterbacks. That part of it I think is obvious."
But then, the answer got more interesting.
"But it's no different — how does it all fit together?" McCarthy continued. "Aaron Rodgers has been developed in this offense and he's done very well in his development years and he was able to put together a successful season last year, and we look for him to build off that and take another step forward. Now, how's (Jay) Cutler and (Brett) Favre and the other guys in Detroit, how (do) they fit into their scheme? To me, that's to be seen. I don't care how long you've played in the offense or how well you know somebody, you still have to go out and play the game. You have to go to practice — there's a reason why we practice — and how you perform. That's why we play the game. I think that's to be seen."
Was McCarthy poking those bitter feelings in Minnesota by pointing out "there's a reason we practice," or was he simply pointing out that he knows what he's got at quarterback while the other teams don't?
Unless the first two weeks of the season is mere fool's gold, this is shaping up to be a thrilling season. The Super Bowl-or-bust prospects of the team with the love-him-or-hate-him quarterback just adds to the drama.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.