More Agile Farve Shows Results Of Offseason Work

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Brett Favre turned 36-years-old on Monday, but the grey hair speckled atop of his head and the crow's feet beside his eyes tell a different tale.

"He looks like he's turned about 50," giggled wide receiver Antonio Chatman. "On the field, he doesn't play his age though. He still acts like he's about 21."

Facial appearances aside, Favre has turned back the clock by improving his conditioning and becoming more elusive inside and outside the pocket.

"I feel quicker," he said. "I have more stamina as well."

During the offseason Favre trained under the guidance of former Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach Ken Kroener at his Mississippi home. Their workouts focused on strengthening his core muscles to improving the quarterback's mobility.

"What I wanted to achieve was to make the first guy miss and still make a throw," Favre said.

Mission accomplished.

Favre first showed glimpses of that ability during a preseason game versus the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 20. He scrambled away from Bills linebacker Jeff Posey before completing a 12-yard-touchdown pass to running back Ahman Green.

On Sunday he also impressed. With 6:48 remaining in the second quarter, he rolled out to his left and connected with wide receiver Robert Ferguson, his third read on the play, on a comeback route for a 25-yard touchdown against the New Orleans Saints.

"That may be one of the best throws I've ever had in my career. I really believe that," he said. "Would I have been able to make throw last year? Maybe. But I feel more confident in making those type of throws."

With Kroener, Favre concentrated on strengthening his abdominal, back and hip muscles so he could contort his body and make awkward throws like he did on the pass to Ferguson.

"I had to use my body as much as my arm," Favre said.

He has continued his workouts through the season. He does a version of it on Monday and before practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He goes through an even more abbreviated workout before games. Like most NFL players, he used the offseason to build up his strength and endurance and the regular season to maintain it.

"I'm not doing it as intensive I did during the offseason," he said. "I don't think anyone continues their workouts throughout the season."

Favre did not need to spend any time during the offseason strengthening his throwing arm. As any mangled-handed Packers receiver will tell you, he has not lost any zip off of his fastball. The 15-year-veteran has surpassed 300 passing yards twice in five games.

"My arm has felt as good the last few years as any year in my career," he said.

Favre has also shown improvement as a runner outside the pocket. He already has 10 more rushing yards than he did all of last season.

"He's taking off and running the ball," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He's more apt to do that maybe than he has in the past. I think he's a little more confident in his ability to get some yardage and move the chains."

Earning the applause of fans, Favre converted a third down-and-four by running for nine yards against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Favre also churned out a first down last week, running for 12 yards on a carry against the Carolina Panthers.

Favre is on pace to surpass 100 rushing yards for the first time since 2000. He topped 200 yards in 1993 and 1994, but back then he ran because he did not have the knowledge of the offense to go through each of his reads.

"I was probably more mobile back then but also more unsure of what we were doing," Favre said. "I was more apt to run than go to the second or third receiver."

Last year Favre knew he could make someone miss but not necessarily have the agility to follow that up with an on-target pass. Now he has regained that confidence.

"With each one that fails, you start questioning what you can and cannot do," he said. "I did everything possible to give myself a chance to succeed."

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