There’s been little time lately for tight end Jermichael Finley to catch his breath.
Last Thursday, he flew back to Green Bay from Cincinnati and skipped that night’s game against the Bengals because his wife, Courtney, had given birth to their second son, London Dash.
Then on Sunday, Finley returned to the practice field after a few typically sleepless nights with the newborn to find out he was one of only two healthy tight ends.
Welcome back to work, dad.
“I can’t even talk right now, I’m exhausted,” Finley said after a two-hour-plus practice during which he and undrafted rookie Brandon Bostick took as many reps as their bodies could handle. Fellow tight ends D.J. Williams, Tom Crabtree, Ryan Taylor and DeMarco Cosby were all sidelined with injuries, leaving linebackers Vic So’oto and Jamari Lattimore to take some scout team snaps as tight ends.
“It was good work,” Finley said. “Me and A-Rod got some work done. I feel great.”
Head Coach Mike McCarthy would be glad to hear that. He called it “exactly” the type of practice Finley needed.
McCarthy’s star tight end hasn’t played in a preseason game yet, missing the first two due to a quad injury before last week’s emergency flight home. He has just one week of preseason left to get ready for the regular season, and his conditioning is paramount, particularly if the Packers are going to run as much up-tempo, no-huddle offense as they’ve practiced this summer.
That said, Finley sounded confident he can get what he needs out of these last two training camp practices and Thursday’s preseason finale against Kansas City to prepare himself for Week 1. He caught his share of passes on Sunday, but he also smacked his hands together in frustration when he dropped a slant pass he should have caught.
“Yeah, I’ve played football,” he said. “When I touch the grass, it’s a whole different game. I’ll be ready for sure.”
Second-year cornerback Davon House is holding out hope he can be ready for Week 1, as well. House injured his shoulder in the preseason opener but is hoping to be able to play with a harness and avoid surgery.
With a strong start to camp, House was in line for the starting cornerback spot opposite Tramon Williams in the base defense, but the shoulder injury has put his status, if not his season, in jeopardy.
“From what I was told, if it was to pop out again, then I’ll have to get surgery,” House said of his shoulder. “As long as it doesn’t pop out again, I’ll be good with the harness on.”
As part of his rehab, House said he’s been running and backpedaling with the harness and so far hasn’t experienced any trouble. He knows the truer test, though, will be running with receivers and trying to jam them at the line of scrimmage.
“I haven’t really covered (anyone) since the injury,” he said. “We’ll see if I’ll be able to cover with it.
“I’m going to have to be smarter, my feet are going to have to be a lot better, I’m going to have to be a lot quicker with my hands. It’s going to have to be quick jabs.”
With the final week of camp underway, seven-year veteran Jarrett Bush remains a starting corner in base, while rookie Jerron McMillian was the first safety to come onto the field in the sub packages.
McCarthy emphasized once again that nothing has been decided with those secondary spots, which have been in flux all throughout camp. The performances in the preseason finale Thursday will certainly play a factor.
McCarthy said he’s impressed with McMillian’s ability, for such a young safety, to make an impact close to the line of scrimmage, where everything comes at a defender much more quickly. For his part, McMillian doesn’t want that necessarily to become a calling card, which could limit his role.
“I’m getting better, it’s showing,” he said.
“There’s a lot that I still want to show. I don’t want everybody to feel, ‘He’s an in-the-box safety.’ I want to be multiple and help out any way I can.” Related links