Packers relying on Brett Favre, passing game in 3-0 start Print
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Tuesday, 25 September 2007 01:31
NFL Headline News

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -Moments after Brett Favre threw his 420th touchdown pass to tie Dan Marino's record, the Packers had the ball again on the Chargers 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Instead of lobbying coach Mike McCarthy to throw again - after all, the Packers threw on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 earlier in the quarter - Favre wanted to play it safe to seal the 31-24 victory.
``I said, 'We've got to run the ball,''' Favre said after the game. ``Believe me, I think had we run a pass, it probably would have been a touchdown because everybody in the building assumed we were going to run it. But it's not worth it, it's not worth taking that chance, the ball being picked, tipped or getting sacked or I trip and fall.
``And I can't believe I'm saying that.''
When McCarthy came to Green Bay last year, he promised a tough running team built around a strong defense. But it hasn't quite worked out that way.
Green Bay went 8-8 last season, and threw 630 passes compared to just 431 running plays, even though they had a group of backs led by Ahman Green. This season, the Packers are one of two NFC teams at 3-0 and using an even more tilted ratio, passing 66 percent of the time.
Against San Diego, Favre attempted 45 passes, and the Packers ran 13 times for 42 yards - including twice in the second half before Favre's conversation with McCarthy with 1:12 to go.
``I'm not concerned about it,'' McCarthy said Monday. ``Everybody would like to do certain things a certain way. I would prefer to be a heavy run team, but that's just not the way we're built right now, and that's not the way that gives us the best chance to score a lot of points in my opinion. Now that's week-to-week. But there will be a time here where we'll pound the football.''
The Packers' running backs aren't exactly well-known, either, after Green signed with Houston in the offseason. The group includes rookies Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn and first-year player Ryan Grant. The back with the most experience, Vernand Morency, is still recovering from a knee injury in the preseason and hasn't played yet, while the other veteran, Noah Herron, is on injured reserve and out for the season.
McCarthy acknowledged that he isn't comfortable calling more runs yet. Green Bay has only seven first downs rushing this season.
``It's not that I don't believe in our players. I am getting more comfortable with our runners, as far as the different things we're asking them to do,'' McCarthy said. ``You have to have a comfort when you call particular plays in certain situations, and there have been some growing pains there.''
While there may be pains in the running game, the Packers have handled three teams that made the playoffs last year - the Eagles, Giants and Chargers. McCarthy said he is keeping a close watch on his young players' attitudes so they don't get too cocky after such a strong start.
``It's very important to just be brutally honest,'' McCarthy said. ``I'm not going to blow up on my team, just for a calculated blowup. That's just not me.''
McCarthy said he recognizes the need for a solid running team soon, as the weather turns cold and the spread, shotgun offense the Packers used 39 times on Sunday will no longer be as effective.
``It's important to win in November and December and into January in Green Bay, Wisconsin, because those are clearly the most important games, and we're headed in that direction,'' McCarthy said. ``Some people say you have to stop the run and then set up the pass, but it's not illegal to go the other way, and that's kind of the mode we're in right now.''
And it certainly is easier with a more patient Favre, who has thrown for 861 yards and six touchdowns to two interceptions so far this season.
``Clearly, the quarterback, he's the driver of any offensive scheme,'' McCarthy said. ``We couldn't play with this approach if it wasn't for Brett Favre.''
 

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