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#1 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2008 12:35:39 PM(UTC)
[size=18]Play was rarely used with Favre[/size]

Green Bay - The quarterback sneak, the most elementary play in the game of football, is back in the Green Bay Packers' playbook.

Simplistic though they might be, sneaks by Aaron Rodgers could be critical in reviving what in 2007 ranked as the worst short-yardage attack in the National Football League.

Its a lot quicker than handing off the ball for a dive, guard Tony Moll said. If you see an offensive line that can get the push, like we did a couple times in the last game, its totally effective.

In Denver, coach Mike McCarthy called Rodgers number on a third-and-1 play, a fourth-and-1 play and a third-and-goal play from the 1. Twice Rodgers picked up the first down with a gain of 2 yards and the last time he scored.

For reasons having to do with age, vulnerability to injury and personal preference, McCarthy didnt sneak with Brett Favre. In the first game McCarthy ever coached, he tried a sneak against Chicago and Favre was stuffed on fourth and 1. He never tried it again.

Favre used to sneak all the time in his 20s. In 1996, he was 4 for 4 in three playoff games alone.

With the Packers sneak in mothballs, foes had one fewer option to defend. Green Bay ranked 32nd in third- and fourth-and-1 plays at 35.7% in 2007 after tying for 28th at 58.3% in 06.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was well aware of that embarrassment. In the off-season, he studied how the top five short-yardage teams handled their business and found three or four employed the sneak.

Around here we havent done it, Philbin said. Depends on what we see defensively and what we think the matchups are, but its a good play.

Last year, the four most successful quarterback sneakers (Kyle Boller, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Chad Pennington) converted 18 of 20.

Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements doesnt want Rodgers traversing beyond the center-guard gaps.

It has to be a yard or less, Clements said. Aaron did a good job, except on the goal line. Hes got to get down a little bit. He took a shot down there.

Sneaking also gives Rodgers the chance to get down and dirty with his offensive linemen, which never hurts in the bonding process.

Hes a tough northern California kid, Moll said. It shows that the quarterback is willing to take a hit just to get a first down.

Wells, Pickett on way back: Both the Packers offensive and defensive lines should get their anchors back early next week.

Center Scott Wells and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said they would play in the season-opening game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 8. Both also expect to take part in practice when it resumes on Monday.

Yes, thats my plan, to be out there 100%, said Pickett, who missed all of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Pickett said he was not sure how much practice time he needs to be ready for the opener, but hell be there.

I can definitely use that week of practice since I havent had any camp, Pickett said. But I dont really know how many practices I need or anything like that. I feel like I already know the defense. Im in pretty good shape, my weight is real good, so I dont feel like I have any problem getting right out and playing. I think Ill be pretty close to ready, to be honest. I wont be rusty.

Wells is very confident hell practice next week after being out since the Aug. 16 exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers with a lower back strain, an injury hes been dealing with on and off since June. Wells, who saw a specialist last week, indicated that the injury could affect his lower body strength if it is not rectified.

(Dealing with the pain) is part of it, but its also pain and functionality, Wells said. With pain you lose function. And its just kind of the balance there. The pain is not an issue. Its how much does that affect my performance? The pain I can deal with, its just sometimes when you have back pain you get weak in your legs and so on and so forth. So thats the whole thing were trying to avoid.

Harrell surgery done: Defensive tackle Justin Harrell had surgery on his back late Monday, according to general manager Ted Thompson. Thompson would not reveal who did the surgery or where it was performed.

Everything went well, Thompson said.

Safety net: With starters Nick Collins (neck) and Atari Bigby (ankle) and reserve Charlie Peprah (hamstring) slowed by injuries, Jarrett Bush expects to see a bulk of his action Thursday night at safety.

The Packers tried Bush at safety in the off-season, and hes been there from time to time in training camp. But with Aaron Rouse and Tyrone Culver the only fully healthy players at the position, Bush will be needed against the Tennessee Titans. After a rocky start, he has gotten much more comfortable at the position.

A couple of times I was, like, Coach, what do I do? Bush said. But everythings starting to slow down. It was more about reading everything. At corner you dont have to read nothing, you read the receiver. Now that Ive gotten used to reading linemen and stuff like that, its so much easier.
#2 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:34:26 PM(UTC)
Gosh, I didn't know we were that bad at short yardage.
Greg C.  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2008 10:03:45 PM(UTC)
There will be things that Favre did that Rodgers can't do, but this is an example of how he can at least partially make up for those things. Scrambling for first downs is another example. Sneaks and scrambles can be huge.
#4 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2008 10:27:11 PM(UTC)
well yah the packers were so bad in 2006 that every time they hit 4-1 Mike McCarthy called a pass play. it was so obvious
#5 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:54:01 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
well yah the packers were so bad in 2006 that every time they hit 4-1 Mike McCarthy called a pass play. it was so obvious

I remember a couple of years ago when we played the Rams, Ahman Green was running all over their D. BUT on 4-1 on the goalline Mike McCarthy calls a shotgun pass play without a runningback even being in the backfield. And it is safe to say we didn't score on that one.
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