Bostick, Quarless could make up for Finley

The Green Bay Packers have big plans for their returning tight ends, even if Jermichael Finley isn't one of them.

Finley still has not been cleared to resume his career following last season’s neck injury.

Even if Finley is cleared, which at this point remains in question, there's no guarantee general manager Ted Thompson will re-sign him.

So it was no surprise to hear coach Mike McCarthy talk Wednesday at the NFL annual meetings about Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick as players he views as possible significant contributors this season and in the future.

The Packers re-signed Quarless to a two-year, $3 million contract after he finished last season as the starter in place of Finley.

But Bostick, a former small-college receiver, might be the more intriguing of the two. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and with a basketball background at Newberry (S.C) College, Bostick is a Finley clone in terms of body type and athleticism. In limited opportunities last season, his first on the active roster after spending his rookie season on the practice squad, Bostick averaged 17.1 yards per catch on seven catches and had one touchdown.

His role increased following Finley's season-ending neck injury Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns. He first proved himself on special teams before getting a chance on offense.

"When you look at performance on special teams, it's always a pretty good indicator of how guys are going to transition to their offensive and defensive responsibilities," McCarthy told reporters at the NFC coaches breakfast. "And Bostick's right there. I thought he really improved and was one of our four core players on special teams. He's doing some really good things in his limited opportunities on offense."

It was surprising to hear McCarthy call Bostick the team's best blocking tight end before a foot injury ended his season in Week 15.

"That is something he had to grow into, develop into," McCarthy said. "I look at him as still a young, ascending player."

Both Bostick, 24, and Quarless, 25, fit that category. Quarless missed all of the 2012 season after blowing out his knee late in 2011.

"I felt like last year, he wasn't quite where [he was] two years ago,” McCarthy said. "Just quite wasn't himself. I thought last year there was a big hurdle that he actually made it through the whole season. It's something that he struggled with. We felt that he has a chance to get all the way back and still is a young ascending player."