Five months ago as Packers training camp began, Michael Clark (above) was a 6-foot-6 curiosity. After one year of Division I basketball at St. Francis (Pa.) and one year of football at Marshall, Clark confessed, “I barely know anything about football.” Now, the Packers are giddy about his potential at a position that could be in flux next season. Promoted from the practice squad on Dec. 1, Clark had three catches for 36 yards in last week’s loss to Minnesota.
Clark, who caught 37 passes for 632 yards and five touchdowns for the Thundering Herd in his one year of football, then signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent and promptly missed virtually all of the offseason program with a hamstring injury, flashed some of his potential against the Vikings – potential the Packers had been seeing in practice for months.
At one point, the Vikings moved No. 1 cornerback Xavier Rhodes onto Clark.
“It just spoke volumes of what we’ve seen in practice. It validates that,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “Because you see that type talent, you see him making those type plays on the practice field and for him to get that opportunity to do it on game day, it spoke volumes.”
That said, the coaches now want more from Clark, who failed to come down with one 50/50 ball and whose potential requires the coaches not to give him a pass for being inexperienced.
“He had some opportunities in the game, he made some good plays, but he had some plays you want to see him go up and come down with the football. So, he needs to make the contested catch,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s on video now, so Detroit’s preparing for him. They’ll have a plan. You can see that Minnesota adjusted to him pretty quickly in the game when they moved Rhodes over to him. He’s a big target and he’s got twitch. I think the biggest thing as far as taking that step would be making that contested catch.”
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9-11 on “Wilde & Tausch” on 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.