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Elder statesmen keep team in order

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl
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    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By BOB McGINN
    bmcginn@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: Jan. 10, 2008

    Green Bay - When the Green Bay Packers last were Super Bowl champions, their locker room overflowed with older players, dominant personalities and some of the greatest leaders in franchise history.

    Receiver Donald Driver is regarded by several of his teammates as one of the Packers' best leaders.

    The "Minister of Defense" himself, Reggie White, certainly was pre-eminent. But there were many others, including LeRoy Butler, Santana Dotson, Eugene Robinson, Frank Winters, Sean Jones and Brett Favre, who made sure the 1996 team stayed on track.

    As the current Packers embark on another Super Bowl quest, their locker room is a much different place. Merely 17 players on the 53-man roster have been in a playoff game, befitting the National Football League's second-youngest team for the second straight year.

    The atmosphere in the Packers' spacious locker room is much more tranquil than it was 11 years ago, when their cramped quarters used to reverberate with loud music and dozens of outspoken players belting out their opinions.

    As the 2007 season unfolded, it became critical for veteran leaders to surface and mentor some youthful teammates who appeared to have little or no idea what it would take to become a professional football player.

    Based on interviews with players and coaches, the Packers are being led very well from within.

    "It had to be because we're so young," cornerback Jarrett Bush said. "If there wasn't any leadership, we'd probably be a mess."

    On Wednesday and Thursday, the Journal Sentinel asked 18 players to select the team's five best leaders and rank them 1 to 5. A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote was worth four and so on.

    As expected, Favre emerged as the winner with 12 firsts and a total of 75 points.

    Long snapper Rob Davis finished a strong second with five firsts and 48 points.

    Next in line was wide receiver Donald Driver with 37½ points, followed closely by defensive end Aaron Kampman with 37. Rounding out the top 10 were linebacker Nick Barnett (26, the other first), cornerbacks Al Harris (13) and Charles Woodson (12½), tackle Mark Tauscher (9½), tight end Bubba Franks (four) and wide receiver Greg Jennings (three).

    None of the 14 players receiving votes was asked to participate in the selection process. And no one in the group of 18 voters, four of whom are starters, received a vote himself.

    "Sometimes guys lead by talking but don't show up," tight end Donald Lee said. "Most of the leaders in this room, when they talk, they back it up. I respect that."

    From safety Charlie Peprah's perspective, Favre is the supreme leader on the field whereas Davis is the supreme leader off it.

    "There's not one clear-cut leader," Peprah said. "I guess everybody from the outside thinks Brett is the leader of the team, which on the field he is. Hands down. Whenever he speaks, you listen.

    "But I think he kind of leaves it to us, the younger guys, and definitely to Rob. Rob's genuine, man. He's just a cool cat. He's got so much respect. I mean, the coaches go to him if there's a problem."

    The 38-year-old Favre, who is 10 months younger than Davis, has amazed quarterback Craig Nall with his hunger for victory. Favre actively guides teammates on offense, inspires others with his toughness and led one, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, to state, "You want to play good for him."

    "There wouldn't be much getting done around here without him," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "Plus, he's just a great guy and is always working hard."

    Davis, who joined the club in mid-1997 and played in Super Bowl XXXII, has developed a niche for himself that is completely foreign for his position. Davis was portrayed by numerous players as a wise, intuitive person eager to help them with any and all football and lifestyle problems.

    "I think he's the most respected and also respectable gentleman in the locker room," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I'm not going to say he's a best friend to everybody, because he's not. But he's like a big brother. He's the guy that will help you out regardless of the situation."

    Long active in NFL Players Association affairs, Davis is doubling this season as an assistant in the player development department. One player said most gripes go to Davis, who then brings them to coach Mike McCarthy. Four or five times this season McCarthy has had Davis address the team.

    "He does the most talking of anyone," linebacker Tracy White said. "If I had to say who keeps the locker room in order, I'd have to say Rob Davis."

    Wide receiver Shaun Bodiford, who also has played for Detroit and Washington, says the Packers easily are the most vocal of the three. Tight end Ryan Krause, who spent three winning seasons with San Diego, said this is by far the more harmonious environment.

    "When I was in San Diego, fights would break out in the locker room it seemed for no reason," he said. "Here, I haven't seen any fights or arguments. Nothing. If there is a problem, it's kind of like somebody turns it into a joke and laughs about it."
  2. Fuzznuts
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    Fuzznuts Cheesehead

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    This is for all those posters who claim that Favre is retarding Aaron Rodgers growth, or that he is "not the future", or that this team is built for Aaron Rodgers and he would be doing just as well Favre if he only had his chance to start, etc., etc...

    It's also for those who at the beginning of the year said Favre was washed up, should be traded, "was holding the Packers hostage", and was ruining the future of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

    No way do you bench a HOF QB that is playing like Favre is this year for an unproven commodity off the bench who may never pan out, and that hasn't done thing one in the NFL yet because you have mad manlove for him and THINK he is the future...

    Sorry, just doesn't happen that way in life....

    This is the NFL..not fantasyland.

    This says if all to me. You don't even have to go any further than this.....

    And another thing....

    Don't let Rob Davis retire.....EVER!

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