Wednesday, 08 September 2010 19:39

Will Late Hits On Farve Hurt As New Orleans Saints Play Vikings

Written by {ga=EdStaton}
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staton1The Saints roughed up Brett Favre last January and the Vikings can look for similar treatment on Thursday night when they open the regular season at the Superdome. The Saints are favored by five points.

The majority of fans who witnessed the NFC Championship Game here last January remember the numerous hard (and sometimes late) hits the Saints put on Favre, who'll be 41 on Oct, 10.

Favre told the Hard hits are part of the game and he mainly remembers all the opportunities that existed because of the blitzes called by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams  "You look at that game," said  Favre of the 31-28 Saints overtime victory, "and I know that two times safety Darren Sharper came free and it was huge plays for us. But we didn't have enough blockers to  pick it up. It was a matter of me getting it off before they got there, and getting it off to a guy who had to beat his guy 1-on-1 or anticipating the throw. We handled the pressures pretty well."

Sharper is on the PUP list and has been replaced by second-year Malcolm Jenkins, who won't gamble like Sharper.

While the Saints are deep at cornerback the Vikings are worried about cornerback depth in the opening game. All-Pro Vikings corner Antonie Whitfield said he knows the Saints will spread out the Vikings defense. "They know we have only three corner healthy, so I expect that," said Whitfield..

Favre was able to find enough holes in the Saints defense to complete 28 of 46 passes for 310 yards with a touchdown as the Vikings gained 475 yards in total offense. Favre wasn't sacked and he said the two interceptions he threw came when the Saints decided not to blitz and dropped into zone coverage.

That wasn't William's preferred style, and given that the Saints' game plan worked in leaving Favre battered and bruised, some of the same can be expected on Thursday night. The quarterback said he is fine with that and believes that is how many teams will come after him this season. He has no issues with the approach Williams designed last season.

The Saints were assessed two 15-yard penalties for hits on Favre. Defensive linemen Bobby McCray ($20,000 and Anthony Hargrove $5,000) were both fined by the NFL. A league executive after admitted that referee Pete Morelli's crew should have called a 15-yard penalty against the Saints in the third quarter because of the high-low hit on Favre on a play that resulted in an interception and left the quarterback writing in pain because of an ankle injury.

Favre said the gruesome thigh bruise he suffered was worse than the ankle, which already been injured entering the game. "I got elbowed or kicked or something in a scrum trying to get the ball," said Favre, who admitted he felt worse after  the Vikings' victory over the  49ers  in Week 3 of last season. "All of the other hits really didn't hurt," said Favre.

Favre doesn't believe he was mistreated or took too many late hits. "I've heard that," said Favre. "Going back home to Mississippi everyone was this and that. Had it been us doing that to Drew Brees, we wouldn't probably feel that way. They would be getting those questions.

Favre said the hits the quarterbacks get are more obvious.  This game, to be seen nationally on NBC (Ch. 6), likely will be closely called by officials, but if it does get physical Favre figures he can use his savvy to find open receivers just as he did last year in which five turnovers cost the Vikings more than anything..

Favre doesn't look for Williams to change his game plan  for this game. "As many times as I have played agaisnt his defene, they play that way," said Favre.  "I foresee them playing the same style of defense and we'll expect it every week."

By Ed Staton.  Talk about the column below on our buzzbacks

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