Senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.
Packers prepare for Favre: It’s Brett Favre versus the Green Bay Packers one last time. Or is it? It is fair to wonder if Favre would much rather be riding on his tractor in Kiln, Miss., instead of riding out what has proved to be a most difficult season. Off the field, he has been questioned by NFL officials about accusations of lewd behavior toward a female sports reporter. On the field, the Vikings are 3-6. Favre has been supremely battered. There have been major shoulder, foot and ankle injuries. Network cameras zoom in to record grimaces of a broken warrior who looks like he’s just gone 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao. Wouldn’t he rather be throwing passes against the guys in the Wrangler’s commercials than being chased by Clay Matthews? Favre’s statistics have been consistent with Minnesota’s overall plight. He’s thrown an NFL-leading 16 interceptions and is ranked 31st in overall passer rating. But even the Packers who are not directly responsible for stopping him on Sunday have watched plenty of video and remain Favre fans. “The man has thrown some interceptions,” said WR James Jones. “I mean the man is running around on a broken ankle and he’s moving around pretty good. He’s throwing the ball like he has for his whole career.” “Look at what he did two games ago against Arizona where the Vikings won. That’s the Brett we’re preparing for,” said DE Jenkins. “We know he has it in him. Especially with the talent he has out there. Brett sitting back in the pocket, if you give him time in the pocket, he’s going to find somebody open.” If this is indeed Favre’s farewell tour, many defensive players around the league won’t be sorry to see him go. “If he was on my team, yeah,” said Jenkins. “Playing against him? A lot of football fans will miss him. I’m not sure if I’ll miss playing against him but the game of football will miss him.”
Regrets? Favre has a few: It’s hard to imagine things going much worse for Favre since kicker Ryan Longwell, guard Steve Hutchinson and defensive end Jared Allen were dispatched to Mississippi this summer by coach Brad Childress to convince Favre to play one more season and the Vikings upped his compensation to a whopping $16 million, or $1 million per game. Not only are the Vikings a disappointing 3-6 after coming within overtime in the NFC Championship Game of reaching Super Bowl XLIV last season, but Favre has struggled. Through nine games, he’s completed 180 of 289 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,066 yards with 10 touchdowns and an NFL-worst 16 interceptions for a passer rating of 72.2, which ranks 31st in the NFL. Favre has also been playing with two fractures in his foot/ankle, tendinitis in his right (throwing) elbow, stitches in a gash in his chin, and a sore throwing shoulder. His wide receiver corps is a mess. Then, there are the off-the-field issues Favre has dealt with. His alleged texting of sexually explicit photos to former New York Jets employee Jennifer Sterger in 2008 triggered an ongoing league investigation into whether he sexually harassed Sterger while he was the Jets quarterback. His relationship with embattled coach Childress can be most politely described as poor. And wide receiver Moss was released after only four games after engaging in conduct Childress deemed detrimental to the team. It has gotten so bad that Bears LB Urlacher, following Chicago’s 27-13 victory last Sunday at Soldier Field, said he “felt bad” for Favre. “I don’t think I said or did anything that would warrant (Urlacher thinking), ‘He’s fallen off the deep end,’ or something,” Favre said, acknowledging that a loss to the Packers, which would drop the Vikings to 3-7, would essentially end the Vikings’ season after 10 games. “I have no idea what the rest of this season will hold, but it is a now-or-never, do-or-die, our-backs-against-the-wall (situation).”
Driver, Pickett questionable: Defensive end Ryan Pickett and wide receiver Donald Driver participated in full in practice Friday, but both veterans are still listed as questionable on the Green Bay Packers’ official injury report. Packers – WR Donald Driver (quadriceps), DE/NT Ryan Pickett (ankle) and FB Korey Hall (back) are questionable; LB Desmond Bishop (hip), LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), LT Chad Clifton (knee), CB Pat Lee (ankle), LB Clay Matthews (shin), TE Andrew Quarless (shoulder), C Scott Wells (arch) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) are probable. Packers coach Mike McCarthy sounded encouraged after watching Driver run several go routes during practice. “Donald Driver looked good. We sent him on a few deep balls,” McCarthy said. “Really, the biggest factor in Donald Driver being available for Sunday will probably be (Saturday’s) evaluation, to see how he responds to the full practice. I would say Ryan Pickett would be exactly in the same category. Ryan did much more team (work) today than he did (Thursday). I’ll be very curious when Dr. (Pat) McKenzie has the opportunity to visit with Ryan and Donald both tomorrow and on game day.”