Rodgers to be first off bench

Rookie expected to back up Favre against Chargers

Rookie Aaron Rodgers will get his first taste of the National Football League tonight in Green Bay's exhibition opener against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field. The Packers' top draft pick is expected to replace Brett Favre early in the game and play for most, or all of the first half.

Rodgers has performed well in training camp after a shaky June minicamp. He has shown a good command of the offense and is much more comfortable with the plays.

"I think he's ready to jump in there," said Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley. "It's not like we're worried he doesn't know what he's doing or anything like that. He's a fast learner, and we'll find out how fast he learned."

Rodgers is battling veterans Craig Nall and J.T. O'Sullivan for the backup spot behind Favre. Rossley said that O'Sullivan probably will play most of the second half against the Chargers, and Nall might not play at all.

"We probably know the most about Nall, Rossley said. "We've had him the longest and we've seen him in preseason before, so this will be good for the others. We'll still see Nall in later games."

Not expected to play
The following players are not expected to play tonight against the Chargers because of injuries: linebackers Na'il Diggs (knee), Brady Poppinga (hamstring) and Kurt Campbell (calf); cornerbacks Joey Thomas (calf) and Chris Johnson (shin); defensive tackles Cletidus Hunt (knee/shoulder) and Grady Jackson (knee); defensive end R-Kal Truluck (hamstring); and wide receiver Terrence Murphy (groin).

Chargers receivers coach James Lofton is a Packers Hall of Famer; the team's No. 1 draft choice in 1978, he left Green Bay (1978-86) as the franchise's all-time total offense leader, a mark Ahman Green can eclipse in 2005…San Diego center David Brandt was in Green Bay camp two years ago…Chargers safety Bhawoh Jue left Green Bay (2001-04) this spring to sign as an unrestricted free agent…San Diego cornerback Jamar Fletcher played collegiately at Wisconsin…Packers offensive line coach Larry Beightol spent one season (1989) as the Chargers' offensive coordinator/O-line coach.

Last meeting
Dec. 14, 2003, Qualcomm Stadium, Packers won, 38-21.

Brett Favre threw a season-high four TD passes and Green Bay beat the Chargers to remain alive in the NFC North title race. With thousands of Cheeseheads in the crowd of 64,978, Favre, Ahman Green and kicker Ryan Longwell all set franchise records.

Favre threw three of his TD passes in the fourth quarter after the Packers fell behind the Chargers (3-11). LaDainian Tomlinson gave San Diego a 21-17 lead with a spectacular 68-yard catch-and-run. But Favre notched his 28th fourth-quarter comeback and erased that lead 52 seconds later. Najeh Davenport returned the kickoff 45 yards to the Chargers' 42 and Favre threw a 40-yard TD to Robert Ferguson two plays later. With Longwell's record-setting PAT, the Packers led 24- 21. Favre added a 1-yard TD pass to Green, one play after Grady Jackson sacked Drew Brees and forced a fumble, and a 16-yarder to Ferguson with 3:58 to play for a 38-21 lead.

Green broke the oldest team single-season rushing record in the NFL, eclipsing Hall of Famer Jim Taylor's mark of 1,474 yards set in 1962. Green rushed for 75 yards and one TD on 19 carries, plus the TD catch.

Favre threw at least one TD pass in his 23rd straight game to set the franchise mark. He had been tied with Cecil Isbell, who threw TD passes in 22 straight games during the 1941-42 seasons.

And Longwell had eight points to break Don Hutson's career scoring record. Longwell got his 824th career point on a PAT following Ferguson's 40-yard TD catch. Hutson had 823 points in his Hall of Fame career.

Last meeting, Lambeau Field
Sept. 15, 1996, Packers won, 42-10.

The Packers, en route to a Super Bowl title, launched a season 3-0 for the first time since 1982.

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