The case for 7 receivers: Jared Abbrederis has big day at Packers camp

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There was no way Jared Abbrederis heard Mike McCarthy essentially discount the idea that the Green Bay Packers could keep seven receivers on the 53-man roster.

But he sure played like he did.

Abbrederis, likely one of the receivers on the roster bubble, made an early case for why he should warrant one of the five or six spots (more on that in a bit).

The former fifth-round pick from Wisconsin in 2014, who has yet to make the roster coming out of a training camp, caught a pair of touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers during Saturday's red-zone heavy practice.

Abbrederis missed all of his rookie season because of a torn ACL and then sustained a concussion in the first training camp practice last summer, and by the time he returned for the preseason finale he was too far behind to make the team. Finally elevated from the practice squad to the roster midway through last season, he didn't make a major impact until the playoff loss at Arizona, where he had four catches for 55 yards.

McCarthy raved about Abbrederis this offseason -- calling his play "exemplary" and "exceptional" -- but it doesn't change the fact that the Packers are going to have to leave out someone of value if they don't keep more than six receivers.

Although McCarthy wasn't asked directly about keeping seven receivers, his answer to a question about how to use multiple receivers seemed to remove that as a possibility.

"You like to think you can have six receivers coming out of it, but really the players decide that," McCarthy said before Saturday's practice. "Maybe it will be five. You want to be able to roll those guys in there. One thing we've done a very good job, and it starts with the player acquisition, [is] our receivers play all four positions, and we have a couple of guys who can play five positions. I'm talking about Randall [Cobb] being able to go back in the backfield. We want to make sure we have five or six that can play all four positions."

At this point, after just four practices (including only two in pads), it's pointless to start a numbers count.

Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery haven't even been cleared to practice yet and rookie Trevor Davis' eye-catching start in the nonpadded practices hasn't exactly carried over to the padded work. It has left Cobb, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis and Abbrederis to get the bulk of the work with Rodgers and the No. 1 offense. Former practice-squad receiver Ed Williams and undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison also have made a play or two.

"I don't ever focus on numbers," Abbrederis said. "You've seen the past couple of years, injuries happen, things happen. You can't worry about what you can't control. You just have to control you."

The 6-foot-1 Abbrederis' strong showing on Saturday included an athletic 3-yard touchdown catch on a fade from Rodgers -- one play after Janis got turned around and dropped a potential touchdown -- and a 14-yard leaping touchdown in the back of the end zone in which he grabbed the ball away in midair from linebacker Joe Thomas.

"Whenever Aaron gives you opportunities, you've got to make sure you come down with them," Abbrederis said. "That's a big step in gaining his trust, and like I've always said, you've got to gain trust every day. So, obviously, it helps."