Last season, the Green Bay Packers kept five tight ends on the roster.
On Sunday, they had five tight ends wearing baseball caps.
With Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams and DeMarco Cosby nursing injuries, the Packers had just Jermichael Finley and Brandon Bostick available.
“We were in the hot tub earlier,” Finley said of he and Bostick. “I just told him, ‘Be ready. You’ve got to be ready right now.’ He done good today.”
Finley and Bostick ran plays with the offense. For the scout team, they employed a rotation of linebackers Vic So'oto, Jamari Lattimore and Terrell Manning and safety Sean Richardson.
So’oto was wearing a No. 85 yellow jersey marking him as San Francisco’s Vernon Davis as the the team did a little early preparation for the season-opening game against San Francisco. It's obviously too early to even consider any comparisons to former two-way player Spencer Havner, but So'oto was particularly impressive on a couple of passing plays, beating D.J. Smith deep over the middle for a catch from Graham Harrell. He also beat Clay Matthews deep up the middle but the ball was thrown too far.
“I think any time the ball is thrown to you, there’s a certain amount of confidence that the quarterback has in you and you have in yourself. You have to go out and make plays,” So’oto said.
So’oto was a tight end and linebacker in high school. He started one game at tight end as a true freshman in 2005 and, after missing 2006 with a knee injury, he caught 12 passes in 2007 before being moved to the defensive side of the ball.
“The only thing that was different,” So’oto said, “was I had defensive lineman gloves on instead of receiving gloves, so was kind of wiping off sweat on sweat on the sweaty towel. It was fun.”
At least Finley was back after missing Thursday’s preseason game after the birth of his son, London Dash William Finley.
“I actually slept over (in Cincinnati),” he said. “I woke up that next morning and Courtney called me and said, ‘My water broke.’ I was like, ‘Quit playing me, I’m trying to study right now.’ Then she hung up. Then she said, ‘Get here.’ Then me and Mike met, and he said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do.’ So I left ASAP. London, he arrived at 11:25 (a.m.).”
Finley wound up missing the big moment, getting there at 2:15 p.m.
Finley was “exhausted,” both with being a new father again and being one of two tight ends at practice.
“It was good work,” he said. “I got some good work out there. I’m pretty exhausted right now. But meaningful. Me and A-Rod got some work done, that’s pretty good right there. I feel great, man. I feel big things coming right now.”
Returned to practice: RB Brandon Saine (hamstring).
Missed practice: WR Shaky Smithson (ankle); RB Duane Bennett (knee); CB Davon House (elbow); FB Jon Hoese (hamstring); RB James Starks (turf toe); TE DeMarco Cosby (hamstring); LB Robert Francois (hamstring); LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring); G Ray Dominguez (ankle); OT Andrew Datko (concussion); DT Ryan Pickett (calf); TE Ryan Taylor (xxx); TE Tom Crabtree (shoulder); TE D.J. Williams (ankle).
Active PUP list: OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring), DL Johnny Jones (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and TE Andrew Quarless (knee).
The week ahead
There are two practices remaining in training camp, 11:15 a.m. on Monday (pads) and 11 a.m. on Tuesday (helmets). Wednesday’s day-before-the-game practice is not open to fans or the media, and the preseason finale at Kansas City is at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Unlike Sunday, when light showers chased the team into the Don Hutson Center, the weather won’t keep away the fans on Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the low 80s and sunny skies.
— The Packers must get down to 53 players by 3 p.m. Monday. Coach Mike McCarthy said the team will announce those moves on Monday, including the future of Desmond Bishop, who potentially could miss the season after hamstring surgery.
— There also has been no determination on whether Derek Sherrod will make the 53-man roster or be placed on the PUP list. “He’s getting closer,” McCarthy said. “He’s a little frustrated. I had a chance to watch him in his rehab the other day. He’s hitting the targets that he needs to down there. But as far as how close we are to being on the field, that’s obviously something that will be heightened as this week goes on.”
— The No. 1 nickel secondary was Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush at cornerback and Morgan Burnett and Jerron McMillian at safety. Sam Shields was the fourth corner in dime. McCarthy, however, said the starting rotation will not be finalized until after Thursday’s game.
— Don Barclay, a left tackle at West Virginia who spent most of training camp at guard, got his third consecutive day of work at tackle, mostly on the right side on Sunday.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.