Packers' Offense Gears Up for Chargers


It did not take long for offensive coordinator Tom Rossley to decide on the No. 1 quarterback against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.

"I think we'll start with Brett," he said with a laugh.

Selecting the third winningest quarterback of all time is a good call, but Brett Favre will not see a much action during the Green Bay Packers' first preseason game. The team knows what to expect from the 15-year-veteran, and preserving his health is of the utmost concern.

Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and J.T. O'Sullivan will handle most of the throws on Thursday with Rodgers taking the snaps once Favre heads to the bench. That will allow those quarterbacks to play more than a couple of series and find their rhythm.

"We definitely want to see more of J.T and Aaron," Rossley said. "Rather than try and play all four of them. I think it's easier to give them games."

Craig Nall likely will not see any time. But he has played four seasons with the Packers, and the team does not need to evaluate him as thoroughly. Instead much of the focus will rest on the rookie quarterback Rodgers, who struggled through a 1-for-7 performance against the Buffalo Bills during Friday's "Family Night" scrimmage.

"He's a fast learner," Rossley said. "And we'll see how fast he learned tomorrow night."

Although the Packers passed on 30 of their 51 plays during last week's scrimmage versus the Bills, they will emphasize the running game on Thursday.

"The run is going to be a big part of what we do tomorrow night," Rossley said.

Other goals for the game include sorting out the tight end and offensive line positions. At tight end, David Martin returned to practice on Monday. The coaching staff wants Martin, currently the No. 1 tight end on the roster in the absence of Bubba Franks, to get some much-needed repetitions under his belt.

The offensive line hopes to shore up protection problems that led to eight sacks in last week's scrimmage.

"It's a work in progress," center Mike Flanagan said. "But we're going in the right direction."

At guard the Packers have welcomed a new player into the mix along with Atlas Herrion, Adrian Klemm, Matt O'Dwyer and Grey Ruegamer. Rookie William Whitticker, a seventh round draft pick out of Michigan State University, has worked with the starting unit since Monday afternoon's practice.

"They've given me a shot," Whitticker said. "I have to take advantage of it."

At 6-5, 338 pounds, Whitticker is the largest lineman on the roster. Offensive tackle Brennan Curtin is 6-9, but the Packers list him as three pounds lighter than Whitticker. In Green Bay's scheme, their guards usually weigh less than the tackles because they must pull and trap. Whitticker, however, has the agility to do that and played guard in college.

"He has good feet," Rossley said. "He runs pretty good for a big guy."

The rookie has displayed a good grasp of the offense during training camp practices.

"I'm starting to feel comfortable," he said.

He also impressed the coaching staff against the Bills in one-on-one passing drills and double teams against the backside linebackers.

But the true test for Whitticker and the rest of the offense will come during Thursday night's live action.

Rodgers has not taken a hit since the 2004 Holiday Bowl. He looks forward to the contact and his first game in the NFL.

"It will be nice to get that first hit under my belt," he said. "I'm very anxious to get out there -- not only to show the fans what I can do but also my teammates and the coaching staff."

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