Although Samkon Gado surpassed 100 rushing yards in two previous games, Head Coach Mike Sherman called Gado's performance against the Chicago Bears the best of his young career.
"He played exceptionally well," Sherman said. "He made just about every read he could make. He made yardage on his own when he had to."
Gado rushed for 75 yards on 20 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run. He also caught one pass for 12 yards.
Sherman cited three major reasons for his praise. Gado performed well against a tough opponent (the Bears entered the game as the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense). He ran hard despite playing in adverse conditions -- 26 degrees with 12 mph winds. He also made good decisions in determining which hole to run through.
"He cut some back, but they had to be cut back," Sherman. "He hit the hole when he needed to hit the hole."
Prior to the Bears game, Gado occasionally had selected a hole clogged up by defenders instead of an open hole, which could have netted more yardage. The coaching staff spent the last week of practice guiding him through the correct reads.
With six games under his belt, Gado has grown more comfortable with both the Packers' offense and the level of play in the NFL.
"He felt a little more like he belonged," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. "The awe was off of the NFL."
Gado, who had fumbled four times in his previous four games, did a better job of holding onto the football. Whenever defenders came close to him, he gripped the ball tightly before contact. One Packers fumble did involve Gado but was not credited to him. Tommie Harris penetrated and disrupted Favre's handoff before Gado could receive the ball.
The former undrafted free agent leads the team in touchdowns with six (five runs and one reception). That total becomes more impressive, considering the Packers went the first four games of the season without a rushing touchdown. Gado's five rushing touchdowns have tied a Packers rookie record shared by Brent Fullwood (1987) and Gerry Ellis (1985), and he accomplished that feat in six games.
Gado's muscular 226-frame makes him a strong goal-line runner and also a durable back. He has run the ball at least 20 times in four of his last five games. He has never missed time in practice or games despite enduring some hard blows.
"Physically, he seems to be able to take the pounding," Sherman said. "He doesn't get beat up."
Despite praising Gado's smarts and ability to quickly pick up pass protection schemes, Sherman cautioned in labeling the rookie runner as the Packers running back of the future.
"It's still early to say that," he said. "He has a promising future if he continues to develop."
Injury Notes: Tight end Bubba Franks was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam at noon on Monday to examine his neck/back injury. "His availability is very suspect," Sherman said. ... Brett Favre lacerated his right hand and bruised his right forearm on Sunday, but the coaching staff expects him to make his 218th consecutive start on Sunday. "(He) was kind of beat up after the ballgame," Sherman said. "But I anticipate him being able to play."