In last week’s victory over the Cleveland Browns, the Green Bay Packers‘ injury list continued to grow. It seems that every week the Packers are losing someone on either side of the football and it recently has been the case for big named players. The newest injured Packer is tight end Jermichael Finley.
Finley, who had five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown, caught a slant pass from Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter and as he was going to the ground, Finley was hit hard by Browns safety Tashaun Gipson in the head and was driven into the ground. Gipson was penalized 15 yards on the play, but there was certainly no intent to hurt Finley and the hit was somewhat clean. Gipson led with his shoulder and unfortunately caught Finley as he was going down, forcing his head to forcefully hit the ground.
The Packers training staff came sprinting out to the field, as Finley lay motionless. He was put on a stretcher and brought to a nearby hospital. Finley spent the entire night in an intensive care unit. Luckily, he has recovered and has full movement throughout his body and as of today has started daily activities.
As great as the news is for the Packers that Finley is recovering, they must look to another tight end, as Finley will most likely be out a few weeks. The injury adds to the Packers’ ongoing injury bug on offense, and now Rodgers will be without Finley, Randall Cobb and James Jones. It is an adversity the team must face and overcome.
The Packers will look to Andrew Quarless to step up in Finley’s place. The fourth-year tight end from Penn State has seen a lot of action in his time with the Packers. In 2010, he played in 13 games (replacing Finley after a knee injury) and had 21 receptions for 238 yards and a touchdown. In 2011, Quarless played in ten games but saw a limited amount of passes coming his way. Last season, Quarless had an injury that kept him to only six games played.
Quarless must now show the Packers he can make plays and do a good job while Finley is recovering. He has very good size (6-foot-4), decent hands and some quickness. The one place he thrives is blocking. Quarless can be a very solid replacement for Finley, and I expect him to work even harder now and become a threat in this offense.