GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – The Super Bowl champions could be in for a long night Friday, and not because Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre will get his most snaps of the preseason.

With the first round of cuts coming Tuesday, New England coach Bill Belichick wants his Patriots to view their first trip to Lambeau Field in eight years as more than a mere exhibition.

“Every player that dresses for the game, I’ve told them to be ready to go for 60 minutes just like it’s a regular-season game,” Belichick said.

Favre will only go 30, at most.

“We’re not evaluating Brett,” Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. “We’re just trying to get a little tempo going with the first group.”

Favre is ready for the regular season, having completed 13 of 15 passes so far. The rest of the team is a work in progress, however, especially on defense.

The Patriots are trying to get their linebacking corps in order after losing Tedy Bruschi to a stroke, Ted Johnson to retirement and Roman Phifer, who was not re-signed. At quarterback, there is little intrigue except for the No. 3 job, where rookie Matt Cassel appears to have supplanted Rohan Davey, who’s in his fourth year.

At wide receiver, where the Patriots are deep, the trade for Andre’ Davis could convince some of the role players that their jobs are less secure than they thought.

The Patriots also are trying to get their coaching staff in sync after the departures of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to Notre Dame and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to the Cleveland Browns.

Impressed by the 60,000 that showed for Green Bay’s scrimmage earlier this month, Belichick expects the sellout crowd to give the Patriots the feeling that this game counts in the standings.

And he views Green Bay as a solid barometer even with its many unsettled positions because of new defensive coordinator Jim Bates, who came over from Miami, and the Packers’ high-powered, diverse offense.

“This is our best opportunity to pull everything together in terms of substitution, communication, execution, playing on the road, playing in a hostile environment, all of those kinds of things,” Belichick said.

Davis, acquired from Cleveland this week, will get his first chance to impress his new team, but the speedy, former second-round selection in 2002 has his work cut out for him.

“He’s adding to a really strong group of receivers as it is,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “With every new guy, he has to find a role on the team. He’s a very smart player. He came out here (Monday) and almost knew what he was doing on every single play, which was great to see.”

The Packers have many more unanswered questions than the Patriots.

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Bubba Franks, who sat out all of training camp before signing a seven-year, $28 million contract Wednesday night, will be on the sideline for the game, unable to serve as Favre’s safety valve or help spring Ahman Green downfield.

Green Bay still hasn’t settled on replacements for guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle, whose free-agent departures broke up one of the NFL’s elite offensive lines over the winter.

The Packers signed veterans Adrian Klemm and Matt O’Dwyer, but they are being pushed by second-year pro Scott Wells and rookie Will Whitticker, who will get the start at right guard over O’Dwyer.

“We want to find out if he can do it,” Rossley said of the seventh-round pick who has been the camp’s biggest surprise.

On defense, the Packers haven’t gotten interior linemen Grady Jackson (knee) and Cletidus Hunt (knees, shoulder) on the field, and their starting roles could be in jeopardy. Linebacker Na’il Diggs is out until the opener with a knee injury, and the secondary is unsettled.

Mark Roman and Earl Little are fighting for a starting job opposite rookie Nick Collins at safety and Joey Thomas, who moved ahead of Ahmad Carroll at cornerback in the offseason, has missed so much time with injuries he’s no longer a sure shot to start opposite Al Harris.

Also, wide receiver Robert Ferguson was cleared to play Friday night after missing practice this week because of a heart murmur.

AP-ES-08-25-05 1645EDT


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