Print and Go Back NFL [Print without images]

Monday, October 6, 2003
Packers heed Favre's plea to open up offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The West Coast offense has returned to the Midwest thanks to a little chat Brett Favre had with his offensive coordinator.

Favre has always been reluctant to criticize play calling, but he was fed up two weeks ago after a loss to Arizona dropped the Green Bay Packers to 1-2. So, he went to Tom Rossley and asked for more freedom to use his improvisational skills outside the pocket.

Rossley heeded Favre's request to return to his freewheeling ways and the three-time MVP responded with routs of Chicago and Seattle to stop the Packers' free fall just in time for a visit from unbeaten Kansas City.

With all of Favre's targets finally healthy, Green Bay (3-2) scored touchdowns on five straight drives Sunday -- for the first time since 1962 -- in a 35-13 victory over the stingy Seahawks.

On one of his many rollouts, Favre slipped a tackle and found William Henderson, who wasn't even on his list of reads, for a first down.

It was vintage Favre.

"That's what I'm capable of doing, making something out of nothing," Favre said. "I told Tom two weeks ago, 'Just give me a chance. Allow me to do that.' I'm not saying we just go in blindfolded and say, 'Well, Brett will dig us out of any hole.' But just call plays, trust that I can do that."

Ahman Green ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and Favre threw for 185 yards and two TDs.

"That's what the West Coast offense is supposed to be," center Mike Flanagan said. "Your quarterback throws for 200 and change, your running back gets you 100 and change and the next thing you know, you have 400 yards and you've controlled the ball and the clock and the game's over.

"I love Brett and I love Ahman, but I don't want to rely too heavily on one of them."

Rossley used a variety of formations -- three-tight end sets, four-receiver packages, even inserting tackle Kevin Barry as a blocking tight end -- to create mismatches and keep the Seahawks guessing.

"We have a great running back and great run game. They can't play both, so mix it up," Favre said. "It doesn't have to be long passes. Just use what these guys do well and go with it."

Rossley said it was easier to disguise plays because he had his entire group of receivers and tight ends healthy for the first time this year.

"It's fun when you make everyone happy and have all your weapons," he said.

Coach Mike Sherman has wanted to spread the ball around more, and on Sunday eight players caught a pass and five runners carried the ball.

"I just felt like we needed to be able to get more people involved," Sherman said. "You look on the sideline and there's some talented players that weren't playing."

Rossley isn't hearing any complaints about his play calling now, not after Favre put together consecutive triple-digit passer ratings for the first time in nearly a year.

"I thought Tom called a great game," Favre said.