Brett Favre Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 8

Read the transcripts of all of the press conferences held in the Lambeau Field media auditorium on Tuesday. Brett Favre | Mike McCarthy Al Harris | Aaron Kampman | Greg Jennings Audio | Video | Packers-Seahawks Game Center

(You've gone against Mike Holmgren a number of times since that '99 game. How have your thoughts changed since that game?)

It's happened enough and he's been coaching in Seattle now longer than he coached here. I don't want to say it's old news (but) I can't say that I get anymore excited playing in this game than any other game. Maybe initially, which to me still is a little silly. It's a game. It's obviously an important game for us, but I'm sure Mike's saying the same thing to his guys. 'Hey, they're going to try to make a big deal of me going back, and the playoff game here several years ago.' I know 'Hass' (Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck) has caught a lot of heat this week, but I don't look at it much differently than any other game. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for Mike, don't get me wrong, but I want to play well for the obvious reasons in this game.

(How do you think Mike uses his knowledge of you to help him defensively?)

You'd have to ask him. I don't know. Once again, we've been away from each other for a long time. I'm sure there's some similarities today - what those are I don't know - in how I played back then compared to now, but I don't know if he's sitting there saying...I don't run like I used to. I think I could for the most part, like that keep pass a couple weeks ago I ran for 21 yards or whatever, but that's few and far between. So if there was anything it would probably be those type of plays, but we don't do enough of that. That's the first one since what, '98? So I'm sure it's no secret my history has shown that I'll take chances, I'll do whatever, but it's not like some inside story he's telling those guys.

(Is there something that you know about him?)

I can't tell you that. It's top-secret. One thing I do know about Mike is he's going to run his stuff and it's not about tricking the opposing team. He's going to run his formations. He may give you a little personnel change-up, same play out of a different formation. A lot of teams do that, but he has probably stuck to his original (play-calling). The first game I ever played in he probably resembles that as far as play-calling goes as any coach in this league. There are some changes and some of the things he does now are new compared to when I played for him, but for the most part he's going to do his stuff. And I can hear him as if it was yesterday, 'It's about us out-executing. Even if they know what we're doing I'm not going to let the opposing team dictate what I'm going to do. We're going to do what we do and do it well, and so be it.'

(Why is Holmgren so good with quarterbacks?)

He's very tough. I know he was extremely tough on me. I can only speak for the years I played for him, but he's very demanding. To say he's a perfectionist is an understatement. I can remember numerous times in practice I'd make a good throw, tight situation and I'd turn around and he says it's not good enough, and I'm thinking 'What do I gotta do?' Or several occasions in practice I hand it off, made it - not that a handoff is hard - but the handoff was fine. We'd get to the line of scrimmage, fumble or whatever, and he'd yell, 'Get me a quarterback who can hand off.' I'm thinking, 'I did what I was supposed to do.' It was never about the other guys, it was about me. I can't tell you how many times (center) Frank (Winters) screwed up a snap. I've had my share of screw-ups, but when we got to the sideline, not that I was eager, but ready to tell him that it was not my fault because he'd call us over there and (ask) what happened, and I'd throw Frankie under the bus. Of course I got chewed out. He said, 'It doesn't matter. You're the quarterback. You've got to get the snap, you've got to make the right throws, you've got to make the right read.' All that aside - and I said this when I was playing for him and I continue to say it - his ability to use the talent in front of him, whether it be at quarterback or receiver, he has just this knack for getting the most out of (it). Our offense with him sort of evolved to what it became and that was to allow Brett to move around. We're not going to let him sit in the pocket. That's not what he does best. I'm going to allow him to make plays that otherwise I probably wouldn't have done with maybe some of the other guys or maybe do with Matt. Some of the things he'd ask Matt to do he wouldn't ask me to do. But he has a knack for getting that done and calling plays that in my case allowed me to be a very good player. He allowed me to flourish and make plays when plays were not there. He trusted me in that sense and this sounds crazy, but we would repeat plays that worked. He'd run the same play eight times in one game, where I see a play work watching any game - college, pro - where a play works and the coach has a tendency to think 'They've probably caught on to that. It's worked but I'm not going to go back to it.' He would call it until they stopped it. You had to stop it first and I thought he was an unbelievable play-caller, especially being that he's the head coach and he's involved in everything. He had a tendency to yell at refs and yell at other guys and all those things, but he had this ability to focus when he had to. I think that more than anything is what makes him great.

(They're getting a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks. What do you see on how they do it?)

They're not a real big blitzing team. You see guys coming free sometimes, just the naked eye, and you think 'Boy, they're blitzing.' A defensive lineman normally doesn't come through free, but I think that's where people think they're a big blitzing team. They blitz a little bit. They give you some looks. For the most part they're pretty vanilla as they always have been, but first and foremost, Patrick Kerney's playing unbelievable. You can say what you want. Maybe the guy he played against this week was not up to par, but they're putting two and three (blockers) on him every time - helping out with a tight end or a back and a tackle - and he's still just, he's relentless. In some respects he's a lot like Aaron Kampman, his high motor or whatever you want to say, on top of talent. I think high motor is not doing the guy justice. He's a good player. He's strong, he makes plays on runs, he runs people down. He has a bull rush, he has a speed rush, and so you have to focus on him first. You have to put two people on him or you're kidding yourself. (Darryl) Tapp is turning into an excellent pass rusher on the other side. Another high motor guy, I don't want to say undersized, but not your typical (defensive end). He's in some ways a lot like Kabeer (Gbaja-Biamila), a little smaller, fast, relentless, runs, pursues backside. And their two tackles are big guys, and they're stuffing the run well, allowing those guys to get up field. Lofa (Tatupu) is playing excellent. He's a lot like (Brian) Urlacher. He's instinctive, he's always around the ball, he's making plays, and their secondary it's not an old secondary - aside from (safeties Brian) Russell and (Deon) Grant, who have a lot of experience - but their corners are playing outstanding. You're having to hold the ball a little bit longer. They're rushing four and getting pressure and when they do blitz it obviously creates problems. I think they're playing very sound football right now.

(How do you balance that defensive pressure against the 'We do what we do' kind of mentality?)

There's ups and downs to whatever it is you do, and I think the thing about us right now is that is what we do, but I don't think we're naïve enough to think singling up their guys all day is a wise thing to do. Will guys be open? More than likely, yeah. Most of the time they play zone. Pretty much every time it's zone coverage. Now they can give you blitz zone or just straight what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of coverage and there will be guys open (but) not necessarily big plays. The problem is being able to protect long enough or if not, where's your quick throw. It may be if he's not open I'm in trouble type of thing. To balance that between where's that fine line, who knows what our first play's going to be? But you want to try to feel out how we're going to protect. Are they a different team at their place on turf and with the noise? Yeah, but I give them a lot of credit. I think they'll be excellent here, so we have to use a lot of different things to our advantage - the elements, get the ball out quick, handling their zone pressure, which I think we'll get a fair amount of. They're still rushing four, at the most five guys, but which ones are coming. Once again it's not giving up big plays. It's still a four-deep shell. But sliding protection to Kerney, helping out with a tight end, helping out with a back is a logical thing to do, but he's not the only guy on that team. I think we have to run the ball well not only this week but any week, especially in a game like this where you have a guy like Kerney who can beat you if you drop back and throw it every time. You have to be able to run the ball, control the clock, things like that. This week it's as important as any week that we play, but we don't want to detour away from what we do. We also want to be effective, so I think we'll still do our stuff, but we'll do it within reason.

{sportsad300}* (Can you comment on how much cross there is between the two franchises?)*

It makes for a good story for you guys (the media). Matt obviously added to that by saying 'We want the ball and we're going to score,' and playing here and playing for McCarthy and playing for Holmgren. Me obviously playing with Matt, playing for Holmgren. I know Mike's using that for fuel. He's not going to say that publicly but I can remember the times that we went to play San Francisco. Being from that area and having coached there, it was special to him, and he didn't want to make a big deal of it publicly, but there was one of these win-one-for-the-Gipper type of (speeches) from our standpoint. I think he's a great motivator. I think he will use coming back, even though it's happened a lot of times, I think he will use it to get those guys motivated. Some of those guys don't even remember Holmgren coached here, but by the end of the week they will be excited about it. That's one of the things that makes him a great coach is his ability to motivate guys. There obviously is some history and I guess as long as I'm playing and Holmgren's coaching and Matt's playing, any time they come back here it's going to be news. But it's an important game for the simple reason it's a playoff game and the winner continues on and the loser goes home, but it does have an intriguing storyline.

(You were talking about how much you've changed as a quarterback since the Super Bowl. How has your personal preparation changed for a playoff game?)

Not a whole lot different. I really don't think it's any different to be totally honest with you. I said this last week and I will say this over and over, that I have prepared during the regular season. I'd like to think going into every game I was as prepared as I could possibly be, and I know everyone prepares differently, but I can't see this game being any more or less important than games we played during the regular season. We lose this game, we're out, it's over, so it would seem like this game was more important, but in order to get here we had to win these regular season games and those are obviously the stepping stone to the playoffs. I want to win this game. I feel like when game time approaches I will be as prepared as I was throughout the regular season. Preseason I don't prepare the same way I do in the regular season and postseason. You hear it all the time. Now you turn it up a notch, now it's faster and all those things. I don't think that's necessarily true, but it's a good motivating tool I guess. For me, keep it loose, prepare. I think you play the game individually and as a team prepared obviously but loose. You're able to turn it loose. I think you've got to play and have fun, and if you're prepared like you know you should be, then it makes it much easier. That's my approach every week.

(You've talked all year about how young this team is and how loose it is. But are you worried about lack of playoff experience?)

What can you do? We won 13 games and there was no experience, and I was as shocked as anyone. Each week we continued - we made mistakes - but we continued to rise above and find ways to win. The other team helped us as times making mistakes, but you know what, we got it done and I hope we win this ballgame, I hope we continue on. But I hope that we play and go into this game playing the same way that we have played. It's worked up to this point. The most experienced team doesn't always win. It does help to have experience and chemistry. Talent sure helps too, but I think when you play I know as I examined this year, not knowing any better sometimes worked in our favor - not realizing the odds that you're up against. Sometimes you get a veteran team that's been around a while. They kind of go, 'I don't know, we don't stand a chance.' A younger team's like, 'Bring them on.' We've made mistakes at times that I think show our inexperience, but we've been resilient too. Maybe in past years we were not as resilient and able to overcome. I attribute that to coaching and this naiveness if you will.

(What did you make of what Hasselbeck said during the last playoff meeting and have you paid close enough attention to his development to see some parallels between your growth as a quarterback and his emergence?)

He's nearing the end of his rope - eight more years or whatever to catch me. I obviously wanted to win that ballgame and I can remember it as if it were yesterday. Ahman (Green) was one of them out for the coin flip and he comes over on the sidelines and I didn't even hear what was going on. I'm thinking 'Overtime, oh boy.' Ahman comes over to me and he says, 'Did you hear what Matt just said?' I'm thinking, 'Heads, tails?' He said, 'We want the ball and we're going down to score!' What am I going to do? I know Matt. Holmgren knows Matt. Those players know Matt. He meant no disrespect to anyone. There's been talk he didn't know the microphone was on. I don't think it really mattered. I think he had hoped it was on. The worst could happen is they lose. Yeah, they lost. I thought he played an outstanding game. That was just one play. Yeah, it was a big play, but he wasn't being cocky or anything. People can call it what they want, but I thought it was pretty neat. I wouldn't do it, but I'm not saying that negatively. If he throws the winning touchdown ... but if he doesn't, they're talking about it three, four, five years later. But he's a tough guy mentally. I enjoyed playing with him, I enjoyed playing against him. We've had a little fun sending messages back and forth this week. I think he makes that team go and I like his confidence that he brings to the game, I really do, and I thought it was pretty funny myself. I was thinking, 'Boy, we better stop him.' I'm sure he felt like they would get the ball and they were going to score.

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