|Scoring drought doesn't bother Packers top receiver Driver|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:54|
Nearly four months without catching a touchdown pass?
Get my agent on the phone.
But that doesn't seem to be the case for the Green Bay Packers' Donald Driver, who hasn't visited the end zone since the Packers' Week 3 victory over San Diego - and insists he doesn't really mind.
``If I'm out there making plays, if I can catch five balls to drive that ball all the way down and don't score, then I'm fine with that,'' Driver said Thursday, as the Packers prepared to play the New York Giants in Sunday's NFC Championship game. ``And I think a lot of people don't expect me to be, because I've seen guys in the National Football League that are No. 1 guys that complain about not getting into the end zone.''
Then again, Driver never has quite fit the mold of a prima donna receiver.
He does most of his damage over the middle and after the catch, not down the field. And while Driver has been known to get up and mimic a referee's first-down signal after a hard-earned catch, he certainly doesn't spend much time choreographing his end-zone dances.
``I'm a veteran guy,'' Driver said. ``I've scored touchdowns. I know what it feels like to get there.''
What Driver doesn't know is what it feels like to get to the Super Bowl, or even an NFC title game. And that was the gist of Driver's message to his fellow receivers in a meeting before the Packers' regular-season finale against Detroit.
``I said, 'All I'm going to ask you guys is to get me to the NFC Championship game,''' Driver said. ``And I said, 'After that, I know you guys can get me to the Super Bowl.' I said I don't have too many more years left. I said my goal is to play five or six (years) but you never know how that's going to happen. But those guys said that they're going to put it on their back and get me there, so my guys got my back. They know I've got theirs.''
Driver might not have been the Packers' main scoring threat this season, but he's still their No. 1 receiver. His position, flanker, is emphasized in the Packers' offensive scheme and he has been Brett Favre's most trusted target for years.
So even though Driver scored only two touchdowns in the regular season, he led the Packers in receptions (82) and yards receiving (1,048).
Driver figures if he can occupy a defense to get fellow wide receiver Greg Jennings open for his team-high 12 touchdowns in the regular season and two against Seattle in Saturday's playoff victory, fine by him.
``I think a lot of teams right now, what they're doing is they're saying, 'Our goal is to stop him. If we can stop him, we'll be OK,''' Driver said. ``And right now, that's how I feel. I feel like if I can come into a game and make people stop me, then I know the rest of my guys will be able to do what they have to do. And I'm happy as long as we get the win.''
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Driver's attitude is genuine.
``Donald Driver's always been a team player,'' McCarthy said. ``I think it speaks volumes about the way he approaches his job, the way he helps other receivers based on his experiences when he came through here in Green Bay, his rookie year. Very high-character individual.''
If Driver has pouted about being held out of the end zone, Packers backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he hasn't seen it.
``Hey, it'd bother me, but he never shows it,'' Rodgers said.
Rodgers said Driver just wants to win.
``He's going to the Pro Bowl, he had 80-plus catches,'' Rodgers said. ``He knows he's a good player. He doesn't need to get into the end zone to prove he's a good player.''
Driver said being voted into the Pro Bowl this year despite not having big scoring numbers is a sign of respect.
``They looked at me and said, 'Well, hey, this guy doesn't score the touchdowns, but this guy is a dangerous receiver once you put the ball in his hands he can put up yards,''' Driver said. ``So I don't think I have to score touchdowns, and I guess you can say that shows how great of a player I am: I can still put up the good numbers without the touchdowns and still make the Pro Bowl.''
And that's something that didn't happen after some of Driver's bigger statistical years in the past.
``I had the stats two years ago, twice in two years, and I never made the Pro Bowl - and I had the touchdowns,'' Driver said. ``I mean, I looked at it as I guess now you start getting your respect as far as one of the best receivers in the National Football League, and that's what I always wanted. And I think that's why I take my hat off to myself.''
That's Donald Driver for you: cocky about not being cocky.