Packers exploring ways to get more production from tight ends

Packers tight end Richard Rodgers has two touchdown receptions on the season. AP Photo/Mike Roemer

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Andrew Quarless' knee injury has meant one thing for Richard Rodgers: tons of playing time.

In the four games since Quarless’ knee injury, Rodgers has played 220 of a possible 241 snaps (or 91.3 percent of the offensive plays). The Green Bay Packers' other tight ends -- rookie Kennard Backman and Justin Perillo (who was promoted from the practice squad Oct. 14) -- have combined to play a total of 19 snaps.

That might not be a problem if the Packers were getting loads of production from Rodgers, but the second-year pro might be one of the most disappointing players in the early stages of this season. Although Rodgers ranks second on the team with 23 receptions, he has averaged less than 9 yards per catch. In training camp, he looked likely to emerge as a red-zone target but has only two touchdowns through seven games.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy agreed on Monday that the Packers have asked a lot -- maybe too much -- of Rodgers.

“Richard’s playing a lot of football,” McCarthy said. “He’s being asked to do a lot of different things, and I think that’s something that we have to take an honest look at from a coaching staff standpoint.”

Nevertheless, according to a source, the Packers did not make any inquiries about Vernon Davis, the former San Francisco 49ers tight end who was traded to the Denver Broncos on Monday. Tuesday’s trade deadline passed without any moves from Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

The Packers will get Quarless back; he’s eligible to come off temporary injured reserve for the Thanksgiving game against the Bears.

Before then, however, McCarthy will have to decide whether to keep playing Rodgers this much or give Perillo or Backman (who has not played a snap on offense the last two games) more work.

“[Rodgers has] been pretty much carrying the load, but we have two other young guys that have been given a little more opportunities,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “That’s something that we’ll address. As the weeks go on, those guys will have more opportunities and they have to make the most of them.”