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Favre Faces 'Biggest Challenge' Of Playing Career


Quarterback Brett Favre sat down with head coach Mike Sherman on Tuesday to discuss his quest of leading a young, 0-2 team to a season befitting the standards set by the Green Bay Packers organization.

"I consider this part or this stage in my career maybe the biggest challenge I've ever faced individually or as a team," Favre said.

The current Packers roster is tied for the NFC lead with their number of rookies and first-year players (13), and the 15-year-veteran relishes the prospect of teaching a young team how to win.

"To lead this young team is something promising," he said. "These experts have written us off."

He has passed for 50, 277 passing yards and 379 touchdowns. He has won 135 games, a Super Bowl championship and an NFL-record three MVP awards. But this challenge has stoked Favre's juices more than any statistic or honor could.

"I would love to win a Super Bowl, but I can leave this game, saying I have won one, saying I've achieved everything individually and as a team that you can achieve. Not many guys can say that," Favre said. "There's nothing left for me to prove. I could care less if I break Dan Marino's record or not. I care could less if I throw for 50,000 yards and be one of three to do that."

Some observers have predicted this season -- so far a disappointing one -- will force Favre into retirement. Favre, instead, emphasized the season's competitive thrill.

"Losing is no fun, but I'm sure having a lot of fun with these guys," he said. "Of all the seasons, maybe I'll say this is the most satisfying and the most fun."

To accomplish Favre's quest, the Packers obviously will have to play better than they have during their first two games.

Favre attributes the poor performances not to lack of talent but to penalties, a low takeaway-giveaway ratio and miscommunication.

"The things that have contributed to us losing are the little things," he said.

Because the team can address those flaws, Sherman has high expectations for Sunday.

"We will be much improved this week," he said.

To improve, other players besides Favre will have to rise to the occasion. Favre cited seven-year-veteran Donald Driver's six catch, 105-yard, one touchdown performance against the Cleveland Browns as one example. The younger plays on the roster will have to do the same.

"The jury's still out on who's gonna step up," Favre said. "The opportunity for some of our young guys is there."

Youth may surround him, but Favre has a 15-6 record against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including several verbal spats between him and since-departed defensive tackle Warren Sapp. The Tampa Bay defense expects another dogfight on Sunday.

"We've had some classic battles -- Brett and this defense, and we respect that fact. We know what he can do when that offense is hot," Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "We know we've got to be on our A game."

The Buccaneers have earned such grades thus far this season. They enter Sunday's game with a 2-0 record and the NFL's No. 1 ranked defense while the Packers have not forced any turnovers through two games. But as a 15-year veteran, Favre knows the season is a marathon not a sprint.

"You're obviously in a better mood when you're 2-0,'" he said. "It's way too early to be too optimistic or too pessimistic."

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