With Bostick out, Stoneburner steps in at tight end

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick likely will miss the remainder of the preseason due to the lower-leg injury he sustained in the first quarter of Saturday's 21-7 win over St. Louis.

Bostick came up limping following his 9-yard reception in traffic on the Packers' second offensive series. He stayed in for one more play before exiting and not returning.

Although he's a lock to make the 53-man roster, the injury could put his availability for the Packers' regular-season opener with Seattle on Sept. 4 in jeopardy.

"He's going to be a couple weeks," McCarthy said. "They were encouraged once they got all the testing done."

The injuries to Bostick and rookie tight end Colt Lyerla (knee) leave five healthy tight ends on the Packers' roster. Along with a developing role on offense, Bostick, who wasn't at practice Monday, is also a fixture on a number of first-team units on special teams.

Veteran Andrew Quarless subbed into the game on Saturday, but it was second-year tight end Jake Stoneburner who picked up Bostick's snaps with the first team in the two-minute offense.

This is an important camp for Stoneburner, who started last season on the Packers' practice squad before being promoted to the active roster after Jermichael Finley's season-ending neck injury.

He spent nine games on the team's active roster last season, so he's no longer eligible for the practice squad. He'll need to make the 53-man roster to stay in Green Bay.

The Packers don't have an established starting tight end, but still face some difficult decisions as all seven players seem to bring something different to the table.

Third-round rookie Richard Rodgers and Bostick have been receiving the most first-team work with Quarless, who's the longest tenured member of the room. Fourth-year tight end Ryan Taylor is a core special-teamer and undrafted rookie Justin Perillo has made a few plays in practice.

Stoneburner has his virtues, as well. He played in a no-huddle spread offense at Ohio State under Urban Meyer and has taken another step since his arrival in Green Bay as an undrafted free agent.

Given the chance to run with the first-team offense, it's critical to maximize the extra work.

"You almost have to seem like they never even lost Brandon," Stoneburner said. "Nothing against Brandon, but you have to be able to come in and make it seamless. I think the more you can do that, the more they'd be more willing to put you out there. You don't want to be out there and (have opposing teams) know that they have a weak spot at tight end because there's a guy out there who hasn't been out there a lot. You want to go in and act like nothing is different." and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

Green Bay Packers tight end Jake Stoneburner during OTA practice at Ray Nitschke Field, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
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