Insider: 5th-round pick Abbrederis goes deep

Pete Dougherty
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The play probably wouldn't have surprised anyone who saw Jared Abbrederis run past cornerback Bradley Roby for about a 35-yard catch when the University of Wisconsin played at Ohio State last season.

But there in team drills Sunday was Abbrederis, a fifth-round draft pick, getting behind starting cornerback Tramon Williams on a go route to catch a long pass from Matt Flynn.

Abbrederis has OK speed for a receiver (4.53 seconds at the NFL combine), but not the kind to suggest he can run past players such as Roby (4.35) or Williams. But he does with savvy route running.

Against Williams, he came off the line at a moderate pace, then took off as the ball was thrown.

"(Abbrederis) is just running, and I'm like, 'No, he's definitely not going deep,' " Williams said. "Then the ball goes in the air you have to adjust to the ball. It was a good ball, good catch."

This isn't to suggest Abbrederis has been tearing up team drills his first two days of camp. That's his lone big play. But it showed a knack for getting open even though at 6-1 and 195 pounds he lacks a distinctive physical trait.

"He's a smart player," defensive back Micah Hyde said. "I think that he kind of has the same attributes I do. Not the tallest guy, not the strongest guy, but he's going to make plays."


You don't hear about it much, but it does happen.

In 2013, Jared Allen was forced into a Minnesota Vikings game against Philadelphia as emergency long snapper and delivered a perfect strike to punter Jeff Locke. But then there's Oakland Raiders linebacker Travis Goethel, who in a 2012 game was such a disaster as emergency fill-in that Shane Lechler couldn't get off a punt in three attempts.

So good luck Ryan Taylor, the Packers' backup to Brett Goode.

Taylor never had snapped in a live punting drill until today, and of his several attempts, one sailed a couple feet over Tim Masthay's reach, and the next forced Masthay to make a jumping catch.

"Oh, you saw that," Taylor said. "It's something I've been working a lot on. It's a lot easier when you're just working with the punter and not blocking anybody. I can do it consistently when there's nobody rushing me, but that's not exactly how it is in games. Today was a good dry run. We had a couple good snaps a couple bad snaps."

Taylor said that after spending last season "praying" Goode didn't get hurt, he practiced long snaps in every offseason practice and on his own when away from the team. He's taking the job seriously and trying to add to his worth, but it's worth remembering he's a tight end by trade.

"We take it for granted Brett is so good, it's in the same spot every time," Taylor said. "If he has a snap (barely off target), everybody's, 'Oh wow, what the heck happened?' It's been fun and frustrating and a challenge so far."


■ Backup Lane Taylor has been getting some snaps at left guard with the first-team offense, presumably to take some work off starter Josh Sitton. Sitton has had back problems that kept him out of some offseason practices and date at least to last season.

Aaron Rodgers and rookie tight end Richard Rodgers teamed for one of the best plays Sunday. Clay Matthews was running stride for stride on Richard Rodgers' hip on a crossing route, but Aaron Rodgers' lofted touch pass was just out of Matthews' reach for the completion.

■ The Packers will practice in pads for the first time Monday. The NFL's CBA mandates two non-padded practices before the pads go on.

"I definitely think the intensity will go to a different level," coach Mike McCarthy said.

— and follow him on Twitter @PeteDougherty.

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