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Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Favre has to practice to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre isn't the only one who will have to adjust his game if he plays at Minnesota on Sunday night despite his broken right thumb, as expected.

Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley will in all likelihood curtail his calls that recently have put Favre in his comfort zone -- outside the pocket -- and the offensive linemen will have to keep the pocket from collapsing around their injured quarterback.

Favre was hurt Oct. 19 at St. Louis when he struck left guard Mike Wahle's shoulder pads while following through on his second pass attempt.

"The biggest thing is you don't want him to get hit," Rossley said. "You want to protect him. Our line has done a good job of that pretty much for the year. And I'm sure they'll all work that much harder knowing that he's out there playing and they'll do whatever they can to protect him.

"And we'll do what we can to not get him exposed."

But if Favre is going to start his 198th straight game, there's some risk involved. He very well could bang the thumb again and worsen the injury..

"That's just part of it. I mean, if he's going to play, he's always going to be at risk of hitting it on someone," Rossley said. "That would be the worst thing."

That's where his teammates come in.

"Our line just has to be a little firmer. They can't sink as much. They've got to take them on at the line of scrimmage a little more. And he's got to get a little better drop," Rossley said. "He's got to get some separation from the center."

Rossley said he's sure Favre will heed all warnings.

"Those thoughts in your mind kind of make you play better sometimes. Not just him but the people around him," Rossley said.

Right guard Marco Rivera said the key is to limit the hits on Favre.

"He's going to get hit this game," Rivera said. "I don't think there's ever been a game where the quarterback didn't get hit. We just have to play sound football. We have to pick up whatever they bring at us. We have to play hard, and hopefully he'll be fine."

Favre threw a few passes Wednesday and will ratchet up the workload as the week goes on. On Thursday, "we'll probably up it a little bit from what we did today," Rossley said. "Still not a whole lot, just gradually do a little more. But he's got to practice. He's got to get the feel of our plan. It's important to him and to our receivers, to everybody to get into the timing of it."


^WHAT LOSS?@ The Packers are taking no solace from the Minnesota Vikings' 29-17 loss at home to the New York Giants on Sunday, their first loss since last Dec. 8 at Green Bay

The Vikings gave up a season-high 450 yards to the Giants, who found a rhythm behind quarterback Kerry Collins and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter for the win, which prompted the Vikings' outspoken owner to chew them out in the locker room afterward.

"They're a lot better than that," center Mike Flanagan said. "There's six other games to show how much better they are than that. I think they came out and just didn't have a good game.

"I guarantee you with the loss last week, getting ripped by their owner, playing at home, it's us, they're going to come out flying around," Flanagan said. "They always do. You almost don't watch the Giants tape."

Guard Mike Wahle concurred: "You almost don't want to watch it because they're so different."

But he was interested in watching the Packers' 30-25 loss to Minnesota in the season opener at Lambeau Field.

"Looking at our game is going to do more good than look at film of that (Giants) game," Wahle said.

As for the Vikings, owner Red McCombs apologized for his post-game tirade in which he accused the players of humiliating the franchise.

"It's always a positive when your owner says that you've humiliated him, isn't it," Vikings coach Mike Tice cracked in a conference call with Wisconsin media on Wednesday. "I don't know how else you could look at it. I went home and threw a party. I wasn't pleased with the comments. But he's the owner of the team and he has the right to evaluate our performance as he sees fit."

The Packers know that performance wasn't indicative of the Vikings' true colors.


^CLOSED PRACTICE:@ Mike Sherman closed practice to the media this week, in part to prevent the microscope coverage of Brett Favre's every move but also to keep a cloak of secrecy on any defensive adjustments the coaching staff might unveil Sunday.

"I don't want every time Brett twitches his thumb, you know, it's on every newscast across the country," Sherman said. "Then we did some things in the off week that we want to take a look at that for whatever reason, we just want to keep it our own business at this present time."

Sherman cranked up the sound system inside the Don Hutson Center to prepare the Packers for the din of the Metrodome, although "you really can't (replicate the noise), I'll be honest with you," Sherman said.


^EXTRA POINTS:@ Brett Favre's 118 career victories is one shy of Johnny Unitas for fourth all-time. ... Ahman Green is 135 yards shy of 5,000 for his career. ... Green leads the league with 58 first downs and is second in the NFC with 963 yards from scrimmage. ... Randy Moss has topped 100 yards receiving seven times against Green Bay, including 150 yards in the opener this year. The Vikings are 11-0 when Moss tallies 150 or more yards receiving. ... The Vikings already have 17 interceptions after tallying eight in 2000 and 2001 and 16 in '02.