GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers remarked during his Wednesday news conference that one of the most endearing traits of Justin Perillo is that he catches everything thrown his way.
Now, the third-year tight end could be on the receiving end of more opportunities in the Packers’ offense.
Perillo figures to play a larger role as the No. 2 tight end going forward following the ankle injury Jared Cook sustained against Detroit before the bye week.
A former undrafted free agent out of Maine, Perillo caught one pass for 13 yards on 17 offensive snaps against the Lions in the wake of Cook’s injury.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end filled a similar void last season after Andrew Quarless was placed on temporary injured reserve with a knee injury sustained in a Week 3 win over Kansas City.
While he caught 11 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown last season, Perillo’s value to the Packers runs across the board.
“Clearly in his flexibility to play all the different positions and you have to take it even further on special teams,” said Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday morning.
“His ability to play throughout the four-core and six-core units, but it’s his flexibility. He’s very sharp, very detailed. He’s athletic. His versatility is obviously a part of the value for our football team.”
The Packers plan to stick with third-year tight end Richard Rodgers and Perillo as their primary tight ends until Cook returns.
McCarthy said he spoke on Thursday morning with cornerback Sam Shields, who continues to make progress in the concussion protocol, but won’t play Sunday night against the New York Giants.
All four defensive players – Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, Letroy Guion and Datone Jones – who practiced with the team inside the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday continue to make progress.
Barring weather, the Packers plan to conduct Thursday’s padded practice outside.