Tight end Richard Rodgers impressive in OTA's
Richard Rodgers. Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
One of the biggest position battles for the Green Bay Packers this offseason will for the tight end position, a vital one to help quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With unrestricted free agent Jermichael Finley reportedly visiting teams such as the New England Patriots and needing medical clearance, the Packers head into training camp in need of a replacement.
One of those potential replacements shares Rodgers' last name and alma mater: rookie Richard Rodgers from California.
Being used mostly in the slot as a wide receiver in 2013 with the Bearcats, general manager Ted Thompson and his staff made him the team’s selection in the third-round during the draft this year.
For some, the pick was looked upon as a bit odd since Rodgers was projected in the later rounds. That’s comical to the guy who’s been throwing him the ball so far.
“Some of these so called experts on the draft channel said that he was a late sixth round pick,” the signal caller said at his locker Tuesday afternoon.
“Pretty laughable when you watch the talent that he’s got and the ability. Especially some of the plays he made (Tuesday). Again, its helmets and shorts, but you’ve got to be excited about his body type and the hands.“
During practice Tuesday morning, the 6-foot-4, 257 pounder displayed great natural hands catching the football, continuing what he’s already done these last three weeks.
The projected started for the job, Andrew Quarless, has sat out the entire OTA period. Second-year man Brandon Bostick practiced the same day for the first time after having foot surgery.
Meanwhile, rookie Colt Lyerla is still learning the offense. He, along with Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner, stand as long shots for the starting gig.
It’s unsure of whether or not Richard can make such a leap in his first offseason to take the job, but Aaron believes he can add at least something to the offense.
“He’s made some incredible catches, makes it looks easy, and I think he’s really going to push for some playing time if he can transfer what he’s done in the spring now to the fall and have the potential to be an impact player.“ said the QB.
Organized team activities mean little when it comes to position battles for the upcoming season. It’s an examination of player quickness and agility, and also provides an opportunity for rookie players to get acclimated and for veteran players to adapt.
Mike McCarthy is impressed with what he has seen so far from the tight end, but he knows he can’t find any answers right away for jobs this early in June.
“Let’s be realistic, we’re practicing in helmets.” McCarthy joked. “These practices are tailored to highlight agility and being in space, and you just don’t get to see the things that you’ll see in training camp. There won’t be any jobs won in June.”
“I think he’s a natural in space. I’m excited to see him when we get to the end line of work in training camp...as far as all the movement, playing in space, picking up the scheme, I think Richard is off to a very good start.”
The Packers will conclude OTA’s this week, but Tuesday’s session was the only practice of the week opened to the public and media. Next week is the start of mandatory minicamp, their last shared on-field experience before training camp at the end of July.
Richard Rodgers will look to continue from where he left off when that time comes.