Chery To Handle All Kick And Punt Returns Thursday

Head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Chery will get all kick and punt return opportunities Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

GREEN BAY – Head coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that first-year player Jason Chery will handle all kick and punt return opportunities in Thursday's preseason finale at Kansas City.

According to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reporting from McCarthy's post-practice press conference via Twitter:

MM: Chery will handle all kick and punt returns vs. Chiefs. He can run. Has tremendous speed.

Chery served notice that he's a viable return specialist candidate in the third preseason game against the Indianapolis when he returned a fourth-quarter punt 75 yards for a touchdown.

In addition to his speed, which has been obvious since joining the Packers, Chery also showed good decision making by finding a crease, making one cut and running in a north and south fashion.

Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote on Twitter:

McCarthy said they clocked [Chery] from 4.29 and 4.32 [40-yard dash] in his workout

Chery has only been with the Packers since August 5 when wide receiver Jeff Moturi was placed on injured reserve and probably would have never even received an opportunity had fellow wide receiver Jeff Moturi not gotten injured.

The kick return candidate was originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 2009. He went on to spend time on the practice squads of both the Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers released him in June.

The more Will Blackmon struggles to come back from an ACL tear suffered last season, the more Chery figures to have a realistic chance at making the roster. Blackmon continues to have minor setbacks on his way to recovery this training camp including the Colts preseason game last Thursday.

McCarthy commented yesterday about Blackmon, "Didn’t come out of the game as well as probably everybody would have liked."

Chery received the first rep on punt returns at Monday's training camp practice and continued to rotate among a group that included both Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams on kicks and punts. The first-year player fumbled one punt return opportunity.

Despite a golden opportunity in front of him on Thursday, Chery is not a lock to make the 53-man roster. Many factors will go into the decision whether or not to keep Chery including the health of Blackmon, how many wide receivers the Packers will keep and whether he's a better candidate to return kicks than Nelson, Williams or any other player.

On offense, Chery has only one catch for seven yards the entire preseason with that one catch coming this past Thursday against the Colts.

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Comments (19)

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Jersey Al's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:14 pm

Are the 2010 Packers looking for their Desmond Howard?

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hyperRevue's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:17 pm

Did Charles Dillon ever get a chance at returning?

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Jersey Al's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:22 pm

Much to my dismay, no.

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hyperRevue's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:25 pm

Wasn't his return ability pretty much the whole reason they signed him?

Any insight into why he never got a chance? Has he shown anything in camp in any regard?

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PackerAaron's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:42 pm

Hyper - my hunch is they didn't want a bunch of scouts coming to see him.

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hyperRevue's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:43 pm

Really? Meaning what? Destined for the practice squad?

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PackerAaron's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:45 pm

Doh. I was talking about Chery - you guys were talking about Dillon. Carry on...

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cow42's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:17 pm

IF he makes the team I think Swain's gone.

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dgtalmn's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:28 pm

I think cutting the team down, pass the first 5, is going to really tough. I like to see some new blood and cut some of the vets that have not really produced.

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jeremy's picture

August 30, 2010 at 02:32 pm

No doubt.

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PackerBacker's picture

August 30, 2010 at 03:13 pm

Only problem with that is then TT gets beat up by all the pundits who say that the reason the Packers don't do any better is because they don't have any veteran leadership. I agree with you, that there are vet's who stick around because they are a familiar name more than truly being the better player (Jarrett Bush), but at the same time it's nice to have the steady/calming effect of a veteran.

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hyperRevue's picture

August 30, 2010 at 03:46 pm

That's ridiculous. What pundits say that? They may routinely be one of the youngest teams in the league, but they have plenty of veteran leadership - guys like Barnett, Driver, Woodson, Harris, Rodgers.

But, really, what kind of upside does a Jarrett Bush or Brett Swain have?

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WoodyG's picture

August 30, 2010 at 05:01 pm

Aren't 5th WRs sorta a dime-a-dozen? ...... Swain is so far below Jones/Nelson that his playing time as WR is going to be limited ....... Add Finley running out of the slot on occasion & I don't even see him on the field ........ Swain's not a ST demon, is he? ........

If Chery can make smart decisions Thursday night (And catch the ball) as PR & KR, GB can ease him into the WR position slowly but surely ...... Then say adios to Swain .

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WoodyG's picture

August 30, 2010 at 05:44 pm

Actually, my questions were real questions .......... Give me a list of 'special' plays by Swain & I'll make sure he's on the final 53.

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PackersRS's picture

August 30, 2010 at 07:44 pm

He missed almost all of last season, so...

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dilligaff's picture

August 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I think the Packers need a spark on special teams, field position is a key factor for a winning team.

If Chery shows something special against the Chiefs, then I think he is worth a spot on the 53 man roster.

I would give up Swain, he too is coming back from an injury and I believe if the Packers get thin at the position another receiver could be picked up like we did with A. Risen

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corey jenkins's picture

August 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Starting to wonder if Blackmon's days are about to run thin here in Green Bay. I wish him the best, he's a hell of a return man. But I just have this feeling we've seen the last of him for quite a while.

I'm not trying to pull a Vandermause and say the experiment is over and he should get cut, it's more of just a gut feeling that he's on a collision course with the IR, or the PUP at the least. Weirdly enough, I think Harrell might be a player going forward. Hopefully they both will be.

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WoodyG's picture

August 31, 2010 at 08:45 am

Blackmon is no longer eligible for the PUP ...... He participated in practice & played in pre-season ...... The only way a player can be PUP'ed is if that player is put on 'active PUP' prior to practice at the start of TC ..... Thus, Starks, Bigby & Harris are all PUPable ..... No other Packer is PUPable.

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