- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Late last month, coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Brett Favre watched tape of the Packers’ game last year against the Eagles, also their Week 1 opponent this season.

Even at age 37 and with 237 consecutive regular-season starts under his belt, Favre became agitated. The Packers lost 31-9, and Favre completed half of his 44 passes and threw two interceptions.

“I was probably more critical than Mike was,” Favre said. “He said, ‘You have to relax and settle down.’ … And I realize that. My experience and success serve me well, but at times it can work against me if I allow it.”

No quarterback in the NFL has had more individual success than Favre, who starts the season six touchdown passes and 3,861 yards from records set by Dan Marino. Favre also has one Super Bowl title and three Most Valuable Player Awards.

But he remains as driven as ever. The clock is ticking, and he knows it. Even with a young set of skilled players — Javon Walker was dealt to Denver after the 2005 season and Ahman Green signed with Houston last spring — Favre expects efficiency from everybody. He threw 18 touchdowns passes and 18 interceptions last year.

“My patience is a lot thinner now than it used to be,” he said. “Now I see what my coaches went through early in my career. Mike Holmgren had coached Joe Montana and Steve Young and had seen things done over and over again the right way. Then he has me, the gunslinger. He had to be patient. He wasn’t very patient, but he continued to allow me to play.”

Holmgren allowed Favre to experience his growing pains, and the result was a Hall of Fame career that rejuvenated the franchise.

Favre remains the gold standard in the NFC North, and the Packers again will rely on Favre to return them to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Count Favre among those confident the Packers can surprise. Green Bay went 4-1 in December to finish 8-8 in McCarthy’s first year. Perhaps that finish buoyed Favre’s quick decision to return for another rodeo.

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