Nothing about Michael Clark’s sports career has been normal, so why would his NFL debut be any different?
Clark was signed to Green Bay’s active roster on Dec. 1 after spending the entire season on the practice squad, but he didn’t make it into a game until this past Saturday in the Packers’ 16-0 loss at home to Minnesota. Certainly the plan going into the game wasn’t for the wide receiver to play a lot.
However, due to Davante Adams’ absence and an in-game injury to Jordy Nelson, Clark was on the field for 28 offensive snaps (42 percent) — one more than Nelson, 12 more than second-year wide receiver Trevor Davis and 16 more than veteran wideout Jeff Janis.
Even more improbable than Clark’s playing time was that he had the most targets (9) and receiving yards (36) of any Green Bay wide receiver (tight end Lance Kendricks also had nine and 36).
The next “best” wide receiver was Randall Cobb, who was in on 61 plays (91 percent) had four catches on seven targets for 22 yards.
But then again, Clark is the most improbable wide receiver on the Packers’ roster. A former basketball player for St. Francis (Pa.), the 6-foot-6 Clark transferred to Marshall to play football, a sport he hadn’t played since he was a freshman in high school. He led the Thundering Herd in receiving yards (632) and tied in touchdown catches (5) while pulling down 32 receptions in 2016. He signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent and seven months later was the team’s leading receiver against the Vikings.
Other notes from Saturday’s snap counts:
— Like Clark, linebacker Reggie Gilbert made his NFL debut Saturday. Gilbert, who was signed to the active roster on Dec. 22, played 46 defensive snaps (71 percent). Amazingly, he had no tackles.
— With Ty Montgomery already on injured reserve and Aaron Jones getting hurt (again), Jamaal Williams had a season-high 62 snaps (91 percent). He didn’t have one offensive snap when Green Bay played in Minnesota earlier in the season.
— Tight end Kendricks hadn’t played in more than 70 percent of the offensive snaps in any game coming into Saturday. He had 58 snaps (87 percent) in the loss. Kendricks had six offensive snaps (9 percent) in the first Packers-Vikings matchup.
— Injuries continued to decimate Green Bay’s offense. Among those who didn’t finish the game, running back Jones had four snaps, tight end Richard Rodgers two and offensive lineman Spriggs just one.
— Safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett and linebacker Blake Martinez once again played in every defensive snap. Clinton-Dix has missed just five defensive snaps this year, all of which came against the Bears in Week 4. Martinez has played every snap in seven of the last eight games (he missed four plays against Carolina) while Burnett has not missed a play in each of the last five games and eight overall this season.