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Coach aims to get Favre on target

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    QB's decision-making the focus for McCarthy
    Posted: March 28, 2007

    Phoenix - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy won some battles last season getting quarterback Brett Favre to play more efficiently in his version of the West Coast offense.

    Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy would like Brett Favre to improve his QB decision-making.

    But the fight isn't over.

    As he embarks on a second full season as Favre's head coach, McCarthy is focused on improving the quarterback's decision-making and overall efficiency.

    McCarthy made significant headway with Favre last year, getting him to lower his interceptions from 29 to 18 despite an increase in attempts from the previous season, but he got slightly less production and saw a significant drop in completion percentage.

    In the West Coast offense, coaches aim to have their quarterback complete 60% of his passes, and for the 13 seasons since Mike Holmgren brought the system to Green Bay, Favre had only twice completed less than 59%.

    The 56% he completed last season was a career-low and the 55.6% the team completed ranked 27th in the league. There were many factors involved in those numbers, not the least of which were a league-high 43 drops and an inability to keep opposing defenses on their toes with a productive running game.

    But Favre always has controlled the reins of the offense, and McCarthy will start with him in an attempt to make the passing attack more efficient, especially inside the opponents' 20-yard line where the Packers failed too often.

    "He's part of the improvement in the completion percentage," McCarthy said Wednesday at the annual NFL owners meetings. "We need to get that up and quarterback is obviously a part of that. We dropped the ball too much and he did have a number of (different) receivers travel through.

    "That's part of it, and frankly so is it being Year 1 (of his tenure). You can always look to improve your decision-making. You're always trying to improve that year to year. We need to improve in that area. We can't (complete) 56%. That's not what we're looking for."

    In fairness to Favre, if the receivers had caught roughly half the passes they dropped last season, his completion percentage would have been better than 59%. And most of the time, McCarthy kept in seven blockers to protect his three rookie starting offensive linemen, leaving Favre fewer options.

    Still, the increasing impatience Favre has shown over the years showed through in games in which the Packers fell behind. Of his 18 interceptions, 13 came in the second half and 12 came with the Packers trailing. At total of 11 came on first down, a likely indication Favre was trying to get it all back at once.

    McCarthy wants to continue working on Favre's decision-making, which McCarthy thinks can improve even though Favre is a 37-year-old quarterback who has seen everything. When Favre returns from his off-season, the molding process will be picked up where it was left off last season.

    "The decision interceptions are the ones that kill you because those are the ones that should not happen," McCarthy said. "They're the ones you can definitely fix. You're going to have a ball tipped. You might have a ball dropped. Those things you can't control, but the one thing that is constant year to year, you have to control the decision-making.

    "He was much better than the year before, but that's not the goal. We need to improve that area. That's a yearly must in trying to improve."

    McCarthy figures he won't have to be as conservative in the passing game this season because his rookie linemen will be stronger and wiser. He has put a major emphasis on strength training this off-season for his young linemen because too often they didn't match up physically with the opposition.

    Favre will be greatly aided in his ability to find open receivers if he has the option of throwing to a running back or tight end out of the backfield, which wasn't the case last year when they were kept in to help block. McCarthy hopes to stretch the width of the field by sending his backs out, thereby opening up the middle or offering Favre an outlet.

    "It's the most seven-man protection I've ever used, I'm not going to lie," McCarthy said of last season. "So we'll be able to get back to more of the base six-man protections and maybe some of the five-man protections that we have used."

    McCarthy also might have the luxury of some added offensive talent to help inject some life into the offense. But even if the Packers select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft, they can't expect him to make that much of an impact.

    So someone in the group behind Donald Driver - Greg Jennings, Robert Ferguson, Ruvell Martin, Carlyle Holiday, Shaun Bodiford among them - will have to play beyond expectations. And someone will have to replace tight end David Martin's role as a down-field receiver.

    "Yeah, I'd like to add players," McCarthy said. "But I also think you have some young guys that are going to step up. Like I told them, 'A number of you guys have been standing in the back row for a number of reasons: injuries, you didn't get an opportunity, maybe the guy in front of you is a better player right now.

    "It's time for you young guys to get in the front row."

    And should they make it there, McCarthy intends to have Favre connect with them at a rate befitting of a true West Coast offense.
  2. chibiabos

    chibiabos Cheesehead

    Jun 8, 2005
    :packbeer:Good article. Brett has always been a bit awkward in the decision aspect of his game and was part of the reason he was available from Atlanta. One can only hope and old dog can still pick up a few new tricks. Not a Favre basher but, have at it if it makes you feel better.
  3. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

    Mar 10, 2006
    Only part of Favre's game that he hasn't "mastered" is his decision making. Holmgrem worked well with him on it but Sherman didn't to much. I'm glad McCarthy is going to try to work with him on it but I also don't want him to take away what Favre does best and that's fitting the ball in tight places.
  4. Timmons

    Timmons Cheesehead

    May 8, 2006
    This is what I like about McCarthy. Call it what it is and if it's broke, fix it.
  5. billv

    billv Cheesehead

    Jul 24, 2005
    I remember hearing that in one of the Super Bowl years, Favre didn't have a single interception in the red zone. So his decision making wasn't always shaky.
  6. DakotaT

    DakotaT Cheesehead

    Jan 19, 2006
    That's because he had Holmgren chewing his a$$ every time he screwed up. That sort of discipline was lacking in the Shermy years. I didn't see McCarthey do it last year, but he was sure grinding his teeth after Favre interceptions.

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