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Favre Has Reason To Look Ahead


Sometimes it's rough being a three-time NFL MVP.

Meeting with the Wisconsin media for the first time in more than a month, the initial question tossed to Brett Favre wasn't about the coming season, or even seasons past. It was about interceptions, the ones he threw that day in what was merely a mini-camp practice.

Stunned, Favre couldn't help but smile and shake his head.

"No one's asking me about the other day when I just shredded the defense," Favre said, "no one cares about that."

Which is why it's easy to understand that, approaching his 13th professional season, the only thing Favre looks forward to about mini-camp is "going home."

Ask him about the coming season however, and Favre has a far more positive outlook.

It all starts with his health. The left knee that was sprained in a tumble with Washington's LaVar Arrington last October is fine now. A bit sore from time to time, Favre admitted, but strong enough that he's lost five pounds this spring while doing yard work at his offseason home in Hattiesburgh, Miss.

"I've been eating a lot of Sonic and fastfood," Favre said. "When it's 95 degrees at 8 o'clock in the morning, it's easy to work it off."

His arm, too, feels first-rate, even though the only throwing he's done since last season has been at mini-camps.

But perhaps the most encouraging thing Favre can point to today is the receiving corps that a year ago was the offense's biggest question mark.

That was before Donald Driver evolved from a third-down receiver into a Pro Bowler, before Robert Ferguson went from a no-catch season to a 22-reception effort, before Javon Walker set a Packers rookie record with 104 receiving yards in the playoff loss to Atlanta.

And then there is Karsten Bailey, who has made the bulk of his contributions as a special teams player, but who Favre called a "sleeper" who "makes plays."

In just one season Favre has gone from throwing to a group without an identity, to one that seems on the cusp of something special.

"I think we've got four really good guys there," Favre said. "A lot of inexperience -- and that includes Donald -- but I'll take the effort that they're giving and their ability right now as opposed to any four I've had before ...

"They'll make plays. They'll make mistakes, but who won't? As long as they keep running full-speed and keep preparing the way they are, we'll be fine, because there's a lot of talent with those guys."

If the maturation of his receivers gives Favre his greatest reason for excitement on the field, the advancement of Darrell Bevell may be his greatest gift off it.

Entering his fourth season with the Packers coaching staff, Bevell was promoted to quarterbacks coach in February, giving Favre his first position coach since 1999.

And although Bevell never played in the NFL and is just less than three months Favre's junior, Favre believes he'll benefit from their increased time together.

"Regardless of age and experience and stuff like that, I feel like in my career I've gained something from not only quarterback coaches, but other players," Favre said. "I think it's going to work out great ...

"Darrell knows football, he works as hard as any. He's well-prepared, he knows this offense and he knows how to relate to me."

Favre expects Bevell will be of greatest assistance in game weeks, helping him to sort through game film and break down the opposition.

Which isn't to say that Favre won't teach Bevell a thing or two along the way.

"I underthrew a couple guys today," Favre said. "Darrell's back there sweating bullets. I said, 'Come on, Darrel. Relax a little bit.'"

After all, it's only mini-camp. The best seems yet to come.

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