Packers coach McCarthy not happy with low blow on Favre

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Associated Press
December 11, 2007
— Packers coach Mike McCarthy says a hit that Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess made on Brett Favre was low and unnecessary.

Favre, making his 250th consecutive start, got hit twice by Burgess, once on a play before the 2-minute warning at the end of the first half that left Favre limping in Green Bay’s 38-7 victory over Oakland on Sunday to clinch the NFC North.

“It was one of those ’Ooooh’ (hits),” Favre said after the game. “It didn’t particularly feel good and it was an awkward way to fall for me.”

Favre fell from the contact, which caused his legs to stiffen from the shot to the shin. McCarthy wasn’t as upset on that play as the one later in the second half, when Burgess caught Favre around the lower part of the knee.

“The (first) he was in contact with the tackle and then was pushed a little, but the other one he went low on him,” McCarthy said Monday. “It was clearly evident. It was unnecessary.”

Neither hit drew a penalty.

Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said he thought the hit was questionable, too.

“It looked low, kind of right around here,” Philbin said, pointing at the side of his knee. “I’m not an official, I don’t spend a lot of time on that and I don’t claim to be a rule expert ... but one of them specifically looked like it was very questionable.”

Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said Burgess slipped.

“There is one that you can tell he definitely slips. He definitely slips and there’s no way he was going low (on purpose),” Kiffin said. “Being here with Derrick for a year that’s the last thing that Derrick would do. He has great respect for the game and he has great respect for the players in the game too.”

Burgess was not in the Raiders’ locker room during media availability on Monday.

Had backup Aaron Rodgers been available, McCarthy said he would have considered pulling Favre, who finished 15-of-23 for 266 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Rodgers was relegated to the third-string role with a hamstring injury that occurred in practice last week and also may keep him out of Sunday’s game at St. Louis.

“I didn’t feel we were in any danger with Brett as far as the point in the game and what we were doing with him,” McCarthy said. “It’s a little concerning as you watch the tape today, a couple of low hits that he took from Burgess, the two low hits that he took in the pass rush. But at that particular point in the game, we were managing the game, managing the clock. I did not feel that he was in danger.”

Favre said after the game his knees and shin would be fine. He’d already battled through a bruised right elbow and separated left shoulder suffered in the loss to Dallas late last month. The three-time MVP also said he didn’t think Burgess’ hits were dirty.

“I got hit a fair amount. Some seemed kind of low, but I don’t think any of them were on purpose. To me, it’s kind of a vague call from a referee’s standpoint,” Favre said. “Sometimes I think he’s either blocked into a guys or is stumbling or falling. It just happens that way, and to me that’s what happened on that play and the other ones.”


INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Nick Barnett was scheduled to go to an eye doctor on Monday after he said he was poked in a dirty play by Raiders center Jeremy Newberry.

Barnett claimed that Newberry intentionally poked him in the left eye as the first half was winding down, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he didn’t see it when reviewing the game tapes on Monday.

Barnett complained of double vision and said that the cornea of his eye was scratched, even though he returned to the game after putting on a protective visor.

Barnett didn’t seek out Newberry after the game and said he wouldn’t accept an apology immediately because it was a dirty play.

“That’s just one of those NFL codes where you don’t poke somebody in the eye and you don’t spit in someone’s face,” he said afterward.

McCarthy said that he thought the league would take a look at the TV copy of the incident.

“The explanation that was given to me on the field by the referee was that he extended his hand into the facemask. That’s what was seen, and that’s why no flag was thrown,” McCarthy said Monday. “Obviously the result, Nick is going to the eye doctor, so that’s the result of it. But to me that’s more of a discipline, league matter. I don’t have any evidence of it.”

Among other injuries, McCarthy said left tackle Chad Clifton had a right shoulder strain and cornerback Jarrett Bush strained his calf. Both were likely out of practice until Friday. If Clifton is not available, McCarthy said Daryn Colledge would take his spot.


IS 10 ENOUGH? The Packers had 10 defensive backs active in their 38-7 victory over Oakland and played only two halfbacks – Ryan Grant and Vernand Morency.

“We had 10 defensive backs up for a reason. They all contribute on special teams,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s the first time we’ve had 10 up since I’ve been here. We also wanted to roll them in there with different personnel groups.”

Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said there are several secondary members who are all about on the same level and need game work. McCarthy said they’ll continue to talk about rotating the personnel from week to week and the toe injury to Charles Woodson played a role in the decision to play 10 defensive backs.

“I think it’s a testament to the development of our younger players, the confidence the coaching staff has in their younger players,” McCarthy said. “I think these last three games, probably the most important statistic is going to be the health of our football team. That is my focus, to make sure we enter the playoffs as healthy as possible.”

McCarthy said this late in the season, everyone will contribute.

“We’ve come to the point where we feel comfortable putting our young players in regardless of their experience level,” he said.


AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow in Alameda, Calif. contributed to this report.

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