McCarthy's Version Of West Coast Offense Fills Favre With Optimism

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Brett Favre may not be able to feel 10 years younger, but he indicated Monday he's going to be running an offense that more closely resembles the one he ran a decade ago.

At his first training camp news conference, Favre said Mike McCarthy's version of the West Coast offense feels a lot like the one Mike Holmgren ran here earlier in his career, with a greater emphasis on short passes and careful selection of when to go for the big play.

"I think we will go down the field, but I think we're reverting back more to when Holmgren was coaching and that philosophy is the 3- and 4-yard passes are like runs," Favre said.

"If you get a 40-yard touchdown pass or run, that's a bonus. They will come, but they only come if you continue to get first downs, so don't try to bite off too much initially. You pick your spots and matchups to take those chances."

Favre didn't specifically say so, but that sounds like an offense that should reduce the career-high 29 interceptions he threw in 2005.

He said he's perfectly willing to "play the percentages," and with that mindset is an optimism about the players around him who can help the offense reach that level of execution.

Favre recognized the offensive line is the biggest unknown, with two rookies in Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz potentially starting at guard and another young player in Scott Wells starting at center. But that doesn't make him second-guess his decision to come back in 2006 any more than the sore ankles, feet and hips he feels when he gets up in the morning.

Favre likes what he sees in running back Ahman Green, even though he hasn't practiced yet.

"He looks as good as he's ever looked, and there's no doubt he has a chip on his shoulder," Favre said. "He wants to play even better than he has in the past."

He's also excited about his tight ends, calling the addition of Donald Lee "a gem" to go with a healthy Bubba Franks and David Martin. The possibilities with that group also had him thinking about the Packers offense of the mid-1990s.

"It reminds me a little bit of 'Chewy' (Mark Chmura) and Keith Jackson and how we were able to use those guys and spread the field," Favre said.

At receiver, Favre knows what he has in Donald Driver, and though he's not worried about whether his No. 2 target ends up being Robert Ferguson, Rod Gardner, rookie Greg Jennings, or any of the other receivers in camp, he put the onus on all the contenders to seize the opportunity.

"The competition is there for our guys to step up," Favre said. "History has shown the ball will be thrown to you. There's a lot of touchdowns to be caught, so you have to be eager if you're one of our pass-catchers."

Favre is particular intrigued by Jennings, the second-round draft choice out of Western Michigan. In describing that receivers reveal very quickly whether they "have it" or don't, Favre said Jennings just may have it.

"Just watching him, I can see why he had success in college and I can also see maybe why he was overlooked," Favre said. "Sometimes size and speed play such a big part in decisions from NFL teams that you overlook the intangibles. Can he get open? Can he catch? Can he catch in traffic?

"Some of those things remain to be seen, but I feel like he's kind of a natural at what he does."

Time will tell whether the new components combined with the old philosophy can help make up for eight losses by a touchdown or less in 2005. Favre is certainly optimistic, praising the level of talent on the team but qualifying that with how unproven and inexperienced that talent is.

"It really is going to come down to guys making plays," he said. "No one really is ever wide open in pro football. There's not really any big holes to run through, and I don't see that changing. So it's going to come down to guys making tough plays.

"That's what this game is all about....It comes down to one or two plays, that's all. Those one or two plays can make you 4-12, 8-8, 10-6, whatever."

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