GREEN BAY – The wide receiver competition rolls along.
Rookie Trevor Davis was the standout the first couple days of training camp. Davante Adams has made a few big plays.
On Saturday, it was Jared Abbrederis’ turn.
The Wisconsin alum/native put on quite a show for the largest Ray Nitschke Field crowd thus far in 2016, catching multiple touchdown passes during extensive red-zone work and wowing the onlookers with one impressive catch in the back of the end zone.
The third-year pro’s reaction?
“It was an OK day,” he said in the locker room afterward, a reflection of his humility but also the nature of how little one practice can mean in the long grind of camp.
He also wasn’t entirely satisfied.
“I left one out there, so as a competitor, that’s what you think of,” he said. “You don’t really think of all the good plays, but you think of what you can do more. There’s always something you can improve on.”
On this day, there wasn’t much in that area. At the start of an early team (11-on-11) period, Abbrederis had a nifty catch and run on an outside-in slant route as Aaron Rodgers hit him in stride.
When things moved to the red zone, the connections multiplied. He caught a fade to the back corner from Rodgers and then didn’t give up on a deflected pass from Brett Hundley, snagging it just inside the pylon and toe-tapping for the completion.
His best play then came on a roughly 15-yard post route from Rodgers. With two defenders in front of him, Abbrederis leaped and pretty much stole the ball from linebacker Joe Thomas in coverage as bodies went flying out the back of the end zone.
Whether or not he got both feet down for a touchdown was difficult to see at regular speed in a crowd of players, but it was a highlight-reel play regardless.
“We’ll have to watch the film,” he said. “I felt like it was (a TD). It was close, but I felt like I did, was able to get both feet in, but we’ll see.”
Making a play like that, on a ball that could have been picked off, can go a long way for a young receiver with the two-time MVP. Those types of bang-bang plays are common in the red zone.
“There’s a lot of tight windows, so you have to be on time with the quarterback,” Abbrederis said. “The quarterback’s got to have trust in you, and it’s just getting open. When you get the press (coverage), you have to get off.
“But you can’t just base it off one day. You have to go do it again.”
And therein lies the most difficult task. In a competition for the No. 3 job that is open for any of five receivers to seize – with no guarantee there’s room for all five candidates on the final roster – it’s as important to have a short memory about a good day as a bad one.
For Abbrederis, he’ll focus on repeating Saturday’s solid showing while being thankful he’s getting to participate in his first Family Night on Sunday.
As a rookie fifth-round draft pick in 2014, he tore his ACL the first week of camp. Last year, it was a concussion on the first day.
This year, he’s looking forward to enjoying Sunday’s post-practice fireworks with his young daughter and getting ready to move into the second week of camp. Citing health, effort and faith as his priorities, he’s not letting himself get caught up in the roster count and what ifs at his position.
“I just have to keep it going,” he said. “I just have to stay on top of things and make sure I’m available. That’s the biggest thing.
“You compete every day, trying to move up the depth chart, but it’s not like you’re worried about numbers here or there. You’re just going out, doing your thing, and at the end of the day, it’ll all work out.”
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