Brandon Bostick making a bid to start

August, 12, 2014
8/12/14
8:00
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If Brandon Bostick's 23-yard catch and run in the second quarter of the Green Bay Packers' Saturday preseason opener at the Tennessee Titans looked familiar, there's a reason.

Roll video from last season's Week 2 game against the Washington Redskins, and you'll see the same route out of the same formation for almost the identical result on an early third-quarter play.

Except that it was not Bostick on that September day.

It was Jermichael Finley. And it was vintage No. 88.

Finley lined up tight to the line of scrimmage on the left, ran to the flat and spun his head around to take Aaron Rodgers' short pass just a yard off the line of scrimmage. He broke one tackle and then a second and a third before the Redskins got him to the ground 27 yards later down the left sideline.

So there was Bostick on Saturday against the Titans, lined up in the same spot. Just like Finley did, Bostick took a short pass in the flat -- this one from Matt Flynn -- turned up the field and broke at least two tackles before the Titans brought him down.

"I'm trying to at least mimic or give them at least some of what Jermichael did," Bostick said. "I'm not trying to be Jermichael 2.0, but at the same time make the plays that Jermichael did."

Bostick might be the Packers' closest approximation to Finley, whose career remains in limbo while he hopes for medical clearance -- and a contract offer -- to return from the neck injury that ended his 2013 season. While the Packers are high on rookie third-round pick Richard Rodgers and also re-signed last year's fill-in starter Andrew Quarless, Bostick might be a ready-made replacement for some of the dynamic plays Finley made.

"He's super talented," Packers backup quarterback Scott Tolzien said of Bostick. "He's a big body that can also move really well, so he creates a mismatch."

Perhaps it was Bostick's catch and run against the Titans that led to an increased role in Monday's practice, for it was the third-year pro who got the call during the two-minute period with the No. 1 offense. And he saw the ball three times in the first five plays, catching passes for gains of 7, 8 and 5 yards.

"Jermichael was an exceptional player," Tolzien said. "I think Bo's on his way. He's still young and still learning, but he's continued to improve and get better. I think he wants to be a great player."

What he wants to be like is Finley.

When he came to the Packers as a tryout player in their rookie camp in 2012, he took an immediate liking to Finley's game. Bostick, a former small-college receiver at little-known Newberry in South Carolina, spent his first season on the practice squad learning how to play tight end. That offseason, he joined Finley for workouts and made the Packers' roster coming out of camp last year. He played sparingly, but averaged more than 17 yards per catch on seven receptions, before his season ended because of a broken foot in December. Bostick went back to Minneapolis to meet up with Finley this past July, spending about a month working out with him prior to training camp.

Although he is listed at 250 pounds, Bostick said he bulked up to 260 for this season in part to improve his in-line blocking. Bostick still has room to grow as a blocker. Against the Titans, he was called for a holding penalty that wiped out a 19-yard run by DuJuan Harris.

The very next snap was the Finley replica play.

"If I look like Jermichael out there," Bostick said. "I guess that's a good thing."

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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