It is impossible to think about the Green Bay Packers without also thinking of quarterback Brett Favre. Favre has been the best quarterback in the NFL over the last 10 years and has yet to show significant signs of slowing down.
When the Packers come to Gillette Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. the Patriots will be facing the best quarterback they have seen to date this season and Head Coach Bill Belichick knows it. But as much as the Packers are Brett Favre's team, Belichick also knows that they have a number of other weapons on offense as well.
"I think we all know what kind of an explosive offense the Packers have," Belichick said Wednesday morning. "They played an outstanding game the other night against Chicago. They were solid in all phases of the game, from top to bottom."
"Offensively they have a lot of weapons. They have real good skill people and the quarterback is okay," Belichick said with a smirk.
In his 12th NFL season, Favre is on his way towards another superb year. Through five games he has led the Packers to a 4-1 start while putting up extremely impressive passing numbers. Favre is the highest rated passer in the NFC with a 100.8 rating, completing 125-of-192 passes for 1,470 yards and 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
According to Belichick defending Favre is difficult to defend not only because of his physical skills, but also thanks to the experiences he has had. He likened the versatile gunslinger to former Broncos quarterback John Elway.
"Brett is a tremendous passer and he has great touch on the ball," Belichick said. "As the years have gone by his proficiency in the passing game just seems to continue to get better. I don't think he runs around as much as he did in the past, although he still shows the athleticism and the quickness to be able to escape and avoid people in the pocket and buy a little bit of extra time. He makes some just magnificent throws at the very last second. He is really everything you are looking for at quarterback in terms of leadership, he can make all the throws, he is tough and strong, mobile in the pocket and he has a tremendous amount of experience. You are not going to surprise or fool him with a lot of different looks that he hasn't seen before. He has seen pretty much everything a defense can throw at him and then some."
So not only will the Patriots have to work this week to fix the mistakes they have been committing on both sides of the ball in two consecutive losses, but they must do it while preparing for arguable the best player in the NFL over the last decade.
Glenn returns in the Packer green and gold
As most people are already well aware, former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn will return to Foxborough this Sunday for the first time as a visitor. Glenn was traded to the Packers in March following a tumultuous 2001 season that included both NFL and team suspensions and appearances in just four games for the Patriots.
Glenn is coming off of his best game as a Packer this past Monday night when he caught eight passes for 154 yards. On the season he has totaled 24 receptions for 367 yards and a touchdown.
On Wednesday a couple of guys who covered Glenn in practice over the last few seasons, cornerback Otis Smith and safety Lawyer Milloy, said they expect a big game out the receiver. Regardless of the drama or circumstances, both players were quick to point out that Glenn has always been an extremely talented player and they are happy to see his success.
"I consider Terry a friend and I was happy for him [on Monday night]," Milloy said. "But at the same time I was like, 'Okay, we have to play him this week.'"
"I think Terry is going to be Terry, regardless of what happens," Smith added. "For him to be eager to go out there and prove himself, I am thinking he is going to try to prove himself to the organization because we as players know what he brings to the table. He knows a lot of us that are on this team."
"Nobody knows better than we do what kind of threat he is and what kind of skill level he brings to the field," Belichick said of his former receiver and the early season success that he has had.
Injury report long for both sides
Both teams listed numerous and significant players on the injury reports that were released on Wednesday. The Patriots listed seven players, with the only new name being center Grey Ruegamer. The Packers listed 11 players on their report.
For the Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi (knee), wide receiver Troy Brown (knee), tight end Daniel Graham (shoulder), defensive end Rick Lyle (back), defensive end Anthony Pleasant (shoulder), Ruegamer (foot) and center/guard Damien Woody (leg) were all listed as Questionable.
Of the seven players, only Ruegamer and Graham did not practice on Wednesday.
Green Bay lists safety Antuan Edwards (arm), defensive end Vonnie Holliday (chest), defensive end Joe Johnson (arm) and cornerback Bhawoh Jue (hamstring) all as Out. Cornerback Mike McKenzie (groin) and safety Darren Sharper are listed as Questionable. Running back Najeh Davenport (hamstring), tight end Tyrone Davis (neck), quarterback Brett Favre (left elbow), cornerback Tod McBride (knee) and cornerback Tyrone Williams (hamstring) are all listed as Probable.