The answer to what ails the Green Bay Packers at tight end could be standing right there on the sideline.
Brandon Bostick has been healthy for two weeks, but his work has been restricted to special teams, where coordinator Shawn Slocum believes he's been no worse for wear from the slight fibula fracture that sidelined him for a month.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound tight end appeared to be on the verge of locking down an offensive role before suffering the injury in the Packers' second preseason game against St. Louis on Aug. 16, which led to him missing the Packers' regular-season opener in Seattle.
Through three games, the Packers don't have a big play threat in the middle of the field. That's one reason why the offense hasn't been able to capitalize on defenses keeping two safeties high and tilted near the perimeter. On paper, Bostick appears to have the best shot at producing in Jermichael FInley's place down field.
Instead, the Packers have been leaning on rookie Richard Rodgers and veteran Andrew Quarless to do the heavy lifting at the position. Quarless caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 19-7 loss to Detroit, but Rodgers still doesn't have an NFL catch despite three starts.
Furthermore, Rodgers' blocking has been a liability at times. It was Lions defensive end Jason Jones knocking Rodgers backwards off the snap that allowed Detroit to blow up an Eddie Lacy run from the Green Bay 1 en route to a safety in the second quarter.
Bostick was heralded late last season for the strides he's made in his blocking since converting from receiver at NCAA Division II Newberry College.
Whenever his time comes, Bostick knows what he must do.
"Most important thing is stay healthy and stay out there. That's my biggest thing," Bostick said.
When Finley sustained a season-ending neck injury last October, Bostick stepped up with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in four games before breaking his foot in Dallas on Dec. 15, which kept him out the first half of the offseason program.
Neither coach Mike McCarthy nor his position coach Jerry Fontenot have mentioned anything to Bostick about an increased workload going into this Sunday's game in Chicago, but Bostick is eager to get back in the offensive picture.
Based on the diminishing returns at the position, that opportunity may come sooner rather than later.
"Jerry is always on me about the details. He told me to stay ready," Bostick said. "I'll be ready when my time comes."
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