Favre: Offense Good As Ever

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That offense has been the strength of the Green Bay Packers' 2003 season should come as no surprise.

Since Brett Favre became the starting quarterback in 1992, joining forces with then-head coach Mike Holmgren, a productive West Coast attack has been the Packers' calling card.

But eight games into his 12th Packers season, the NFL's only three-time MVP suggests that this year's Green Bay offense has the makings of something special.

"We're doing as good as I've ever seen," Favre said Wednesday of the offense that racked up 451 total yards in a 30-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the Metrodome last Sunday.

Although to many Packers fans that will come as an astonishing revelation.

It wasn't long ago that the Packers' offensive unit, and more specifically coordinator Tom Rossley, was under fire from disgruntled fans.

But even though the Packers have gotten off to an uncharacteristic slow start as a team, the proof of the offense's success lays right there in the pudding of a 4-4 record.

At the halfway point of the season the Packers rank third in the NFL in total yards (2,926), first downs per game (21.7) and points per game (28.7). They rank second in yards per play (5.9) and first in rushing yards per attempt (5.3).

And perhaps most impressive of all, the Packers are on pace to post the best offensive numbers in Favre's already legendary career, not only in terms of yards (365.8 per game in 2003 compared to 359.4 in 1995), but points as well.

If the Packers match their first-half scoring down the stretch this season they'll eclipse by 4 the club-record 456 points scored by the 1996 Super Bowl-bound Packers.

Which, in Favre's mind, validates the performance of Rossley and his offense.

"I think he's done a great job," Favre said. "He has caught a lot of flak from everyone, but the numbers don't lie. That's about as impressive as it gets.

"I saw some comparisons to '96, and some people say that comparisons should stop at won-loss record, but that's a little bit deceiving, because it does take three phases to be successful."

As strong as the Packers have started offensively, there's reason to think things could actually improve in the second half.

The Packers could start just by limiting turnovers, where their 17 giveaways to this point is only three fewer than the league-worst 20 posted by the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.

Last Sunday, the Packers showed signs of turning the turnover battle around, with a Favre interception standing as the only scratch in an otherwise perfect evening of ball protection.

And although critics point to the Packers' lack of producing a 100-yard receiver in a game this season, or the team's penchant for short passes, Favre endorsed Rossley's offensive approach.

"Part of this game is to have thick skin and take the good with the bad and trust what you're doing, what you're calling," Favre said. "He's kind of quietly putting this team offensively in a category by itself, and that's impressive.

"He hasn't let anyone make decisions for him. He's doing exactly what a good offensive coordinator should do, and that's call plays that put us in position to score and move the ball. And we're doing it as good as I've ever seen."

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