Favre's Slump Doesn't Worry Pack

The three-time MVP's magnificent level of play is MIA.

Pressing to compensate for the absence of Pro Bowl halfback Dorsey Levens, Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre has thrown three interceptions in three consecutive games for the first time in his celebrated career.

The nine pickoffs have led to 37 points and have left the Packers (4-2) two games behind NFC Central Division leader Minnesota in the loss column following their 27-20 loss at Detroit Thursday night.

"It's not the worst I've ever played," Favre said. "But it's close."

Not even in 1993, when he led the NFL with 24 interceptions, was Favre ever picked off three times in consecutive games.

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    Forum: How serious is Favre's slump?

  • "It's a little surprising, he's in a little slump," coach Mike Holmgren said Friday. "He's still making some great plays, but it reminds me a little of 1993, when he was trying to make every play -- and as a result, he threw all those interceptions."

    Split end Antonio Freeman said Favre will bounce back in a big way.

    After all, Freeman noted, this is the same player who won the MVP award and guided Green Bay to the Super Bowl title after spending a summer in a drug rehab clinic to kick an addiction to painkillers two years ago.

    So, what's a three-game slump?

    "He's the three-time MVP," Freeman said. "He's done it under more severe circumstances."

    Holmgren doesn't fear Favre's poor performances will lead him back to Vicodin abuse or even into the doldrums.

    "He bounces back faster than any guy I've ever seen," Holmgren said. "I walked by him and he was lifting weights in there and, he's doing his thing, joking around. He handles that well.

    "I will always worr about him because of what we've gone through throughout his life. Long after I'm his coach and he plays for me, I'll be hoping and praying for him, that he keeps away from that other stuff. And he's doing a great job of that."

    But on the field, Favre suffers from plenty, including a running game that has yet to get untracked and a diluted supporting cast.

    Gone are Andre Rison and Keith Jackson. Sidelined are Levens (leg) and Derrick Mayes (knee). Robert Brooks is hurting from a bad back and William Henderson from bad play. And his offensive line is seriously underachieving.

    So, Favre's trying to do it all by himself.

    Favre said he's talked to quarterbacks coach Andy Reid about curtailing his perilous play. But he knows there are no easy answers.

    "I've always played that way, tried to do too much, be the guy to lead us to victory," Favre said. "That's what I do. The plays I'm trying to make, they're not new. I've got to pull it down, do something, but it's got to change."

    It won't be easy to rein in Favre, whose intrepid play is what makes him great and gives Holmgren fits.

    "That is a good thing 98 percent of the time, because you want a player that's like that," Holmgren said. "And he's still the best quarterback in football. It's just we've hit this time now, we've got to get out of it."

    Favre may be trying to do it all, but he can't shoulder all the blame, tight end Mark Chmura said.

    "It's not just Brett's fault," Chmura said. "It's breakdowns all over."

    The starting offense has scored only touchdowns in two games and the secondary has gotten shredded for two TDs of more than 50 yards from scrimmage in consecutive games for the first time since 1951. Two other touchdowns -- a 75-yard pass and an 80-yard run -- were called back by penalties.

    Against the Lions, the Packers allowed both a scoring run and a scoring pass of more than 50 yards in the same game for the first time in 33 years.

    The Packers gave up four TD passes to Randall Cunningham two weeks ago and were unable to rattle Detroit's Charlie Batch, whose 16-for-19 passing was the best for a rookie since 1961.

    So, in the past two games, the Packers have helped resurrect one quarterback's career and launch another's.

    All the while, their quarterback is losing his terrific touch trying to keep pace.

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