GREEN BAY — Since the beginning, Jared Abbrederis has had confidence in what he can do on a football field.
It’s just been a matter of getting a chance to show it.
The third-year receiver, vying to make the Packers’ initial 53-man roster for the first time, achieved his first goal in completing a fully healthy preseason Thursday in Kansas City.
He saved his best outing for last with two catches for 49 yards and five punt returns for 71 yards in a 17-7 loss to the Chiefs in the Packers’ preseason finale.
“It’s frustrating when you get injured and you don’t have the opportunity to be out on the field,” said Abbrederis after the game. “You really leave it up to chance. When you’re out on the field, you have a body of work and you feel good about that whatever way it goes. I’m really happy to make it through camp healthy and we’ll see what happens.”
The Wautoma, Wis., native participated in all four preseason games and 16 public practices for the Packers, a relief after having his first two training camps derailed by injury.
A fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin, Abbrederis missed his rookie season in 2014 after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament early in camp and then missed all of one practice last year due to a concussion.
Abbrederis not only stayed healthy this year but also led all Packers receivers with eight catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in four preseason games.
Despite being among seven receivers on the roster who were drafted into the NFL, Abbrederis found ways to stand out. He made the two biggest plays of Thursday’s game against the Chiefs in hauling in a 40-yard reception from Joe Callahan and returning a third-quarter punt for 42 yards.
“I enjoy the (punt) returns because you can set up your block,” Abbrederis said. “I saw three or four guys on the left side and I just had one guy to beat so it went pretty clean. I tried to make that one guy miss and they did the rest.”
Abbrederis spent last year’s final cuts on the golf course with teammate Jeff Janis, which is where he learned that he didn’t make last year’s initial 53-man roster.
It wasn’t a total surprise to Abbrederis, since he played in only one preseason game due to the concussion. This year, he hopes a healthy preseason will trigger a different outcome.
While he’s unsure how he plans to spend this year’s final cuts – he may attend the Wisconsin-LSU game at Lambeau Field – Abbrederis is at peace with his production.
“It would mean a lot,” said Abbrederis about possibly making the final 53. “Making the team whatever way you make it is obviously great anyway, but to be there the full (season) would be special.”
Ready to Cook: Whatever reps Jared Cook missed in the first two weeks of training camp, the new Packers tight end more than made up for during the preseason.
Cook, who started camp on the physically unable to perform list with a foot injury, finished the preseason with 88 offensive snaps in the Packers’ four games.
He ended camp on a high note Thursday night in catching his first touchdown pass in a game since Dec. 7, 2014, off a 5-yard pass from Joe Callahan for Green Bay’s lone score.
“It was basically a wheel route,” Cook said. “Sold the shallow really well and turned it up, and beat the defender. Joe did a great job, threw me a heck of a ball in the back corner of the end zone to keep me in-bounds.”
After finishing the preseason with nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown, Cook is ready for the games to matter.
“As a player, this is kind of what you look forward to,” Cook said. “This is the moment you wait to get to, just get the season started. It’s been a long time without football. Now we get it going.”
Tough call: The looming decisions for the Packers in regards to their secondary didn’t get any easier.
Rookie safeties Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans wrapped up strong preseasons, while reserve cornerbacks LaDarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins and Robertson Daniel all turned in solid performances in their own right.
Hawkins and Gunter each had an interception against the Chiefs in hopes of securing a spot on the 53-man roster.
“I’m pleased with my resume,” said Hawkins, who finished with five tackles and two interceptions this preseason. “I just need to better myself on special teams, which I have increased and did better on special teams since I’ve been playing it.
“I’m excited. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and there’s more to come.”
Making strides: Third-round pick Kyler Fackrell got off to a slow start to training camp, but came on strong during the preseason.
The rookie linebacker registered a team-high 10 tackles (six for a loss) and a sack against Kansas City. He finished the preseason with 17 tackles and two sacks.