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Pete Dougherty column: Source says Favre likely will be back

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by IronMan, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. IronMan

    IronMan Cheesehead

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    http://www.packersnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071223/PKR07/712230660/1959


    Pete Dougherty column: Source says Favre likely will be back

    By Pete Dougherty

    On New Year's Eve last year, Brett Favre stood on Soldier Field choked up while talking about possibly having just finished his last game in the NFL.

    Now, the subject of Favre retiring isn't even on the radar of the Green Bay Packers.

    The team is conducting business like it expects Favre to return in 2008 for his 17th season as its starting quarterback. A source close to Favre said this week while he can't know exactly what's going on in Favre's mind, the 38-year-old is having more fun this year than perhaps ever in his career, and that he'd be stunned if Favre doesn't come back next season.

    Of course, there's always the possibility Favre surprises everyone and this time decides to retire. Maybe he'll have just had enough, or maybe something unexpected will happen between now and next season that convinces him to hang it up. No one can see into his mind.

    However, the source said Favre never has been so engaged in the offense and team as he is this season, with increased influence in the offensive game plans, increased authority to change plays at the line of scrimmage, and as important as anything, the unexpected success this team is having with him serving as the avuncular leader for the NFL's youngest team.

    But Favre's return in 2008, assuming he comes back, has some serious implications for the Packers.

    First, let's acknowledge the possibility his play could fall off significantly. He'll be 39 next October, and it has to happen sometime.

    However, based on how he's throwing this year and slipping rushers in the pocket, it's hard to see a dramatic drop-off from a player who's taking good care of his body. Yes, his legs will be a year older, so his running mobility will continue to decline. But he can make all the throws and has one of the best guns in the NFL. Perhaps most importantly, his reactions look fast. The Packers rank fourth in the NFL in sack percentage, and one reason is Favre has the reflexes to deliver the ball fast after making his read. When he's moved around and even outside the pocket, he's looked fine wheeling and throwing after spotting an open man.

    He's like an aging Hall of Fame baseball player who can't run like in his prime but still has the hand speed to hit over .300.

    Favre also has adjusted his mind-set, and aside from the Dallas game hasn't tried to win with risky downfield throws. He's managed the offense well, and then more often than not converted big throws when he's had the chance. He had to change to keep playing at a high level with his declining mobility, and it's worked. It helped he has a coach in Mike McCarthy who challenged him in that regard; a defense he could rely on for stops; and the emergence of Greg Jennings as a playmaker; and rookie James Jones and Koren Robinson as quality Nos. 3 and 4 receivers.

    General Manager Ted Thompson then will have the offseason to improve a roster that has holes, though fewer than it looked like four months ago.

    Obviously, cornerback is a major concern because it's one of the most important positions in the NFL and especially crucial in defensive coordinator Bob Sanders' scheme that calls for aggressive bump coverage on most downs. Starters Charles Woodson and Al Harris are indispensable this season but are getting old by NFL standards — Woodson is 31, Harris 33.

    This is where the Packers next season are most vulnerable to decline. It can happen fast, in one offseason, in the unforgiving NFL. As the game against Dallas showed when Woodson didn't play because of a toe injury, a drop-off at either cornerback dramatically could harm this defense. Even with Will Blackmon showing some promise for the future, Thompson has to consider using two draft picks next year at that position in his search for immediate quality depth and a starter for the near future if needed.

    But overall, as long as cornerback doesn't become a disaster, this should be a team with more on the rise than descent, especially with Ryan Grant proving to be a capable starting halfback. This is not the Chicago Bears, whose unsolved problems at quarterback, trade of halfback Thomas Jones and over-the-hill offensive line have killed them after reaching the Super Bowl last season.

    The Packers, for instance, are fairly young on the offensive line as a whole and should be fine at tackle for at least another year with Chad Clifton (31) and Mark Tauscher (30). Clifton especially might be nearing the end because of problems stemming from the Warren Sapp hit, and backup left tackle is a major concern, but neither he nor Tauscher is like Ahman Green last year, when it was time for the Packers to move on.

    And for all the problems the Packers have had at guard, they'll go into this offseason with four young players — Jason Spitz, Junius Coston, promising rookie Allen Barbre and Daryn Colledge — competing for two starting jobs. Some within the organization think the fourth-round pick Barbre could be the best of the four by next summer.

    Grant (25), Jennings (24) and Jones (23) are young. Donald Driver (32) has to be declining, but he's a workout freak who appears to be holding off the ravages of age. At defensive tackle, injured Johnny Jolly is an ascending player, and Justin Harrell should be if Thompson evaluated him correctly as a massive, instinctive run stuffer.

    At safety, for all the flack Atari Bigby has taken for some boneheaded personal-foul penalties and deficiencies playing the ball in the man-to-man coverage, he's young (26) and a major upgrade over the Mark Romans and Marquand Manuels who preceded him. Also, rookie Aaron Rouse has improved as much as anyone in the past couple of months and could win that starting job next year.

    No doubt, a well-placed injury or two could wreck this team in 2008. Among other things, Thompson needs a second starting-caliber halfback, a capable linebacker in case A.J. Hawk or Nick Barnett gets hurt and probably two tight ends. The chances of drafting and signing the right players to fill every need are about nil, but with the draft and $25 million in salary-cap room, the resources are there to get much of that work done.

    The man left out in all this is Aaron Rodgers. His poised, effective play under bright lights at Dallas showed he has a chance to be a quarterback. But it looks like he'll have to wait another year for his shot. He's under contract through 2009.

    Pete Dougherty covers the Packers for the Press-Gazette. E-mail him at pdougher@greenbaypressgazette.com
     
  2. Cdnfavrefan

    Cdnfavrefan Cheesehead

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    I think the improving O-line will make up for any ageing that will happen. I'd be shocked if he wazsn't back if you look at the roster of guys he gets to play with
     
  3. packedhouse01

    packedhouse01 Cheesehead

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    I think he'll be back too unless he wins the SuperBowl, then he might pull the plug. I do think they need to address the tackle position this off season to prepare for the future. Good corners are at a premium, but they need to find at least one backup that can develop into a starter.
     
  4. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    I think he will be back as well, unless they do win the Superbowl then he will go out the way he wants to and what away to go out IMO. He deserves to win the Superbowl one last time. But I do think he will be back at least one more year if not more. The guy still can play and hes proved it, when the day comes that he no longer feels he can do what is asked of him to do then and only then he will hang it up.
     
  5. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    He'll be back.

    The thing is, the article mentions other players too.

    Driver - he'll be back. With our style WCO, route running is more important than speed and Driver even if he loses a step runs exactly how Favre likes. Favre could close his eyes and Driver will be exactly where Favre expects him to be.

    Harris - A big question mark. He seems to be dropping off slightly this year.

    Clifton - A bigger question mark. I see Clifton possibly retiring before Favre.

    Woodson - Looks like he's the Woodson of old. I expect him to be at a top level for a few more years.

    We will need OL and CB help in the offseason, but I'm confident in our WR group.
     
  6. PackCrazed4

    PackCrazed4 Cheesehead

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    Guard has been a problem, and though Colledge is trying to develop into the guard we need, he has had many problems, mainly because of his size. He's too small to hold down the big defensive linemen. He's improved, but he is still getting run over quite a bit. Also, we all see the need of depth at Corner, and also maybe a little more help at DT? We've missed Pickett, but if Harrell lives up to his possible potential we'll be alright.
     
  7. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Re: Pete Dougherty column: Source says Favre likely will be

    Yeah, that's why I think the OL needs work. I'm only happy with our C. T is ok for 2007, but won't be for long. I just don't think Cliffy will be playing much longer, and our Gs have been spotty when it comes to run blocking. Some games, Grant will have running lanes and some games he won't.

    I think Colledge is the right size for a ZBS system, but we seem to have a more hybrid blocking system than a true ZBS system.

    Harrell is supposed to be the next big thing, and if so, we should be fine at DT, but yeah, like everyone on the board has been saying, CB needs depth.
     
  8. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    I'd be shock to see him retire. He was elected as the starter on the Pro Bowl team and the Packers finished with the 2nd best record in the NFC.
     

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