Skip to main content

Team United, Committed To Preparing For 2008

After the Green Bay Packers took the field Monday morning for the first training camp practice of the 2008 season, players insisted their focus will center on handling their respective jobs and achieving the goal that they fell short of last season: winning the Super Bowl.


After the Packers took the field Monday morning for the first training camp practice of the 2008 season, players insisted their focus will center on handling their respective jobs and achieving the goal that they fell short of last season: winning the Super Bowl.

Much of the external attention from media and fans has continued to zero in on the status of retired quarterback Brett Favre. Head Coach Mike McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson have both reiterated that Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback and that the team is moving forward, yet questions still linger on Favre. Will he report to training camp? Will he be traded?

Thompson addressed those questions at a Monday afternoon press conference, and said that while there is no resolution at this point, the team will continue to explore the options that are best for the organization.

"We are trying to do the right thing and we will continue to try to do the right thing for all parties," Thompson said. "There are not any simple answers, but that is what we are tasked to do in terms of working through this. As a leader here, I feel a responsibility to try to do this and try to do this in a proper manner and it's an ongoing thing that we're going to do the best we can.

"We believe that this is the path that we should be on. We believe this is the best thing in the best interest of the organization, both in the short term and the long term."

Thompson said Favre suggested giving the team a few days to try and resolve the situation, and has not reported to camp because he cares about the players on the team and does not want to be a disruption.

Wide receiver Donald Driver downplayed the likelihood of the team being distracted by the ongoing saga, and said players are more concerned about the job at hand, which is getting ready for the 2008 season.

"I think if we're going to talk about anything, we should talk about the Green Bay Packers organization and what we plan on doing in 2008," Driver said. "That's what we need to talk about, the season, regardless of what is going on.

"I look at it as what we have to do, as a team, is play football. We can't let anything come between us right now, because we know where we are trying to get, and that is the world championship. If we don't win the world championship, then we feel like it was a bust."

Linebacker Nick Barnett agreed that the focus should be on those players that are out on the field and what will be getting accomplished each day in preparation for the season, but knows that won't be the case.

"For us, our focus is 2008, training camp, the season," Barnett said. "The big story here really should be the Packers have started training camp. They look good on Day 1, we're making some plays on defense, and some of the young guys stepped up today. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that in the world. Drama is a lot more entertaining.

"Every player in here is so worried about what they've got to do out on the field. I don't think anybody is going to be too focused on (the off-field situation). Our focus is to become better players individually and overall as a team."

When asked whether there is any dissension in the locker room as far as whom players support as their starting quarterback, Barnett scoffed at the notion of any such division.

"We've had a lot of situations, maybe this is one of the biggest ones, but we're not going to be divided," he said. "What we can control is our preparation for 2008 and us getting betting as a team, so that's what we're going to do. We'll let everybody else that has a say handle that business and we'll do what we've got to do.

"Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback now. He is the starter. Whatever decision they make, we're going to roll with it. But division in this locker room is like saying we're going to have an earthquake tomorrow in Green Bay. We've just got too much character in here."

{sportsad300}Rodgers will be quarterbacking a team that is coming off a 13-3 campaign and what McCarthy has called the best offseason in his three years at the helm, one they hope will put them in position to build on last year's success.

"We're a very tight-knit group and we've got a lot of great character guys," Rodgers said. "We spent a lot of time together this offseason, on and off the field. We're a tight-knit group and we're looking to make a run this year."

Rodgers will undoubtedly face a tremendous amount of scrutiny this season as he follows a future Hall of Famer, but said he is most concerned about the things that he can control, which is earning the respect of his teammates and playing well, and most importantly, by winning games.

"It's out of my control. I can control playing well and hopefully I will, but I know 16 games is a long season and you might not be your best every one of those games," he said. "You'd like to, but you might not.

"I know the guys in the locker room support me, and those are the opinions that matter most to me. Obviously I want to the fans to cheer for me, but if we win games then they can't help but cheer for us."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.