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Packers Making Contingency Plans at Tight End due to Finley Injury

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Packers Making Contingency Plans at Tight End due to Finley Injury

Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless. Photo by Corey Behnke of

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy presented his team with the theme of "Keep Calm and Carry On" last week as the team prepared to play without the services of wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones.

McCarthy comes up with a new theme each week, but the sentiment in Green Bay will remain the same in light of the injury suffered to tight end Jermichael Finely on Sunday in a win over the Cleveland Browns.

According to Tom Pelissero of the USA Today, "It could be weeks before the Packers know if or when Finley can get back on the field, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity and fluidity of the situation."

Nothing definitive has come from the Packers organization almost 24 hours after Finley first suffered the injury in a fourth-quarter collision with Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.

The injury was characterized as "significant" by McCarthy but the coach could offer little more by Monday afternoon.

"As far as the injury, the specifics of it, there's a lot of more studies that are going on, opinions to be heard, so anything in terms of a timeline would be premature to comment on that today," said McCarthy.

Given the serious nature of what has only been described as a neck injury, it seems almost a given the Packers will be without the services of Finley for at least a short period of time and perhaps longer depending upon the prognosis.

Finley already suffered a concussion earlier this season in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals that also forced him to leave the game and not return.

The Packers will have to get by at least in the short term at the tight end position with players who are neither as talented or experienced as Finley.

"We've got three good tight ends," said McCarthy, referring to Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and Jake Stoneburner. "I think it's important to define roles for those guys and make sure they have a clear understanding. You never want to put too much on a young guy's plate.

"So we're not going to just roll the ball out there and say, 'We're going to ask you to do the things Jermichael Finley did.' That won't be the case."

The Packers have a fourth tight end on the roster, Ryan Taylor, but he missed the Browns after having a relatively minor surgical procedure on his knee, coming away from the Week 6 Ravens game with an injury of his own.

Taylor hasn't been ruled out of the upcoming Vikings game next Sunday, but the possibility exists he won't be ready once again.

Among the three healthy tight ends currently on the Packers roster, only Quarless has any considerable experience with Bostick and Stoneburner seeing their first ever regular season action on offense against the Browns. Bostick played 10 snaps and Stoneburner just three, according to

Stoneburner had only been promoted from the practice squad just days earlier.

While the Packers have been relying upon Quarless for much of the season and figures to continue to do so, his traits and qualities of a football player don't match those of Finley.

Whereas Finley was frequently split out as a receiver in a two-point stance––a particularly important role because of injuries to Cobb and Jones––Quarless is likely to remain utilized as an in-line tight end and H-back. And it appears Stoneburner and Taylor will be used in much the same fashion.

If there's any player who more closely resembles that of Finley, it's the 6-3, 250 lb. Bostick––a wide receiver in a tight end's body. He may not have the same height as Finley, but he does have the ability to play in space and stretch the field. Plus, Bostick is not particularly adept as a blocker.

McCarthy also gave an updated timeline on Jones on Monday, saying he would probably be out two or three weeks, but again, not ruling him out for the Week 8 Vikings game.

The possibility exists that the Packers could be without the services of three of their top four receiving targets coming into the season this week, only Jordy Nelson being completely healthy.

Last week, the Packers were awarded Chris Harper on waivers. There were reports that his previous team, the San Francisco 49ers, were planning to use him in a tight end and H-back role, but McCarthy said the Packers view him as a receiver.

With Jones and Taylor not likely to miss any more than a few weeks, the Packers are probably not looking to add any more help at wide receiver and tight end, at least for the time being.

In the days and weeks ahead, the Packers will be working with a make-shift receiving corps for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They were able to come away from Sunday with a victory facing a similar challenge, but how long they can continue to do so will test the team's draft-and-develop philosophy.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

TommyG's picture

here comes the cliche train: Next man up, let's go!

RC Packer Fan's picture

what other choice is there?

hayward4president's picture

I miss Finley already :(

RC Packer Fan's picture

IMO, Finley might be the biggest loss that we have had this year.

Every other player that we have lost we have had a capable backup fill in. Who is going to fill in for Finley?

He might be the biggest loss to date.

VApackerfan's picture

J mike...bruised spinal chord diagnosis

dawg's picture

Cant it just be a bad stinger!!
crossing fdingers

Calabasa's picture

I love it: "plus, Bostick also sucks at blocking."

Longshanks's picture

Three of the four remaining tight ends are mainly blockers. The Packers right now are a damn good running team and will have no problems running on MN. You now focus on pounding the ball down the opponents throats more than you do passing. 60-40 run to pass. Lacy, Frankly and even Starks coming back. Rodgers doesn't need a hall of fame cast to complete passes. They can get this done!!

Maybe have McCarthy dress up as Col. Potter from the Mash 4077th this week as the theme of the week. Whatever it takes!!

MarkinMadison's picture

He's really more Henry Blake than Potter.

MN absolutely pathetic tonight. Load up and slow AP, because Josh Freeman ain't getting it done. The Vikings are going to be the bottom of the NFL this year.

hump's picture

at least were all on same page here. we dont have a viable replacement for finley period... interesting note...fred davis has apparently asked to be traded from redskins??

packeraaron's picture

The Packers didn't have a "viable replacement" for Finley in 2010 either. That worked out ok.

PackerPete's picture

Quarless played pretty well before his knee injury. I think if everything is factored in (blocking and receiving), he could be a complete TE. Either way, we'll see a lot of #81 in the next few games.

Stroh's picture

Packers don't want a "complete" TE. They want a receiving weapon at TE, like Finley. That's not to say that Finley will be back next year, IDK if he will, but make no mistake McCarthy wants a receiving threat at TE. He can use backups such as Taylor, Quarless, Crabtree as role players to do the dirty work. Teams don't really care if a TE is "complete" anymore, they all want them to be receiving threats first and foremost.

PackerPete's picture

I would want one. Since then the opposing D wouldn't know whether he's going to block or go out on a route... The more versatile a player is the better. If they just need receiving TEs, why not get a bigger bodied WR?

Stroh's picture

Problem is... There has been only one really "complete" TE entering the NFL in the past decade. Gronk... All the TE drafted in the 1st or 2nd round are receivers not blockers. It would be great to have, but they aren't out there. And teams value the receiving threat of a TE much more than blocking. You can find blocking TE's anywhere in almost any round. That's not the case w/ receiving TE's. They go in the top couple rounds!

Stroh's picture

They also were 5 deep at WR that season. That's no longer the case. Without Finley the Packers are short of receiving threats. Rodgers makes up for some of that, but he still needs weapons. If we get Cobb and Jones back that along w/ the running game would be enough, but take Finley and another threat out of the offense and its ALOT easier for defenses to match up.

GotYourBackPack's picture

Don't even bring up Davis. It won't happen! Getting our hopes up. I know it sounds crazy but I can't help but think this is the last of Finley as a Packer. Packers might start fresh next year with an early pick at TE. Both lines are deep. Just need another safety, Center, TE and WR.

GotYourBackPack's picture

Gotta Pay Shields and Raji. Finley is expensive. Why not get a rookie 2nd rounder. Ted flourishes in the 2nd round!

RC Packer Fan's picture

I just have a feeling that Finley might not play another down for the Packers. Just looking at the Packers players in recent years with neck injuries. (Nick Collins, Sean Richardson) I understand their injuries probably were more severe, but hearing McCarthy's comments I just get the feeling that Finley won't be playing anymore with the Packers.

PackerPete's picture

i have the same feeling. but i figured he would be gone after this season in any way. too expensive with all the other emerging players to be signed.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Bostick is this weeks Boykin!! Not to the tune of 8 for 103 and a TD but we will be pleasantly surprised! I'm thinking 4 for 45 and a TD! Packers 34 Queens 17

Norman's picture

If the Vikings can't score an offensive touchdown against the lowly-ranked Giants D, I'll be disappointed if they score 17 on the Packers (I'll take the win though). With no passing threat, I think they can contain Peterson, meaning keep him under 100 yards (quite an accomplishment on that field) and possibly under 75. I'm expecting him to get more carries than he did against the Giants and whoever is QB to be not quite as awful as Freeman was, but they'll be playing from behind so hopefully no more than 15-18 touches for Peterson.

Idiot Fan's picture

I would guess that playing at home against their bitter rival would give the Vikings at least a little bit more juice than they showed against the Giants. Hopefully we can knock that out of them quickly.

Evan's picture

Freeman is starting...


Ma Linger's picture

I call him Andrew Clueless. The guy has done little with his opportunities and Taylor even less.

Evan's picture

Clever as always.

Stroh's picture

Taylor and Quarless aren't supposed to be in a role as a receiver. THey were drafted to be ROLE players, not receiving threats. Anyone that pays attention can see that...

Norman's picture

Easy now Stroh, you've been behaving recently but that last sentence wasn't necessary :-).

Not sure I agree fully either. I think Quarless was drafted in part for receiving skills. Granted he's not in Finley's class as a receiver though.

I bleed Green More's picture

They seem to find a way each week, will they run or pass. Will they use 2 tight ends and run and or pass off of that. All I know is the whole team desires to win.

hump's picture

staying with the flow of this article nags,stroh nailed it, we won superbowl with no j mike,but arod had all his toys. now were banking on boykin,white and harper miraculously transforming. as stated MM depends on pass catching TE to make this offense flourish and (WE HAVE NONE) So....laugh if you want but if falcons tank and we can somehow lure GONZALEZ,then TONY G will put that superbowl ring on his finger! BOOK IT BABY!!!

Uncle Louie's picture

Hump, I totally agree with you. If Gonzalez asked to be traded to a contender Atlanta would most likely honor his request. It's his last season and Atlanta would obtain a future draft pick. Win for both teams. Pick up the phone Ted

hump's picture

p.s finley has been told by his doctors,that he should be able to resume his career with no more risk of spinal injury than anyone else.he luckily didnt compress spinal column,but instead,had extreme torque placed on it,which apparently is less severe of an injury. finley however wants more opinions for obvious reasons.

Flow49's picture

The way Finley was moving his jaw I thought it might have been a broken jaw. I have a close friend that is a medical doctor and when I described the injury to him he seemed to think that the ICU trip was mostly a precaution to make sure the arteries on the side of the head that lead to the brain weren't ruptured. God willing he didn't hurt anything else maybe we'll see JFin back sooner than expected.

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