Packers Snap Counts: Rookie TE Dafney becomes unlikely red-zone target

Late in the first half of Green Bay’s 35-16 win over Chicago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers dropped back in the pocket. It was second-and-goal from the Bears’ 13-yard line. He waited, waited, waited and threw an off-balance strike to the end zone into the arms of a wide-open receiver.

Touchdown, Packers.

But who caught it? Who is No. 49? That’s rookie tight end Dominique Dafney, a former undrafted free agent who spent most of the season on Green Bay’s practice squad.

It was Dafney’s fifth career game, second career catch and first career touchdown.

Dafney had an interesting journey to the NFL. He began his collegiate career at Iowa Western Community College, then transferred to Iowa from 2017-18. Listed as a wide receiver, he played mostly special teams for the Hawkeyes and never caught a pass.

In 2019, Dafney transferred again — this time to Indiana State, where he found a new role as a fullback and registered 635 total yards on the season. Dafney’s college finale was one to remember. He exploded for 244 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Missouri State on Nov. 23, 2019.

Dafney signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent but was cut in training camp. The Packers scooped him up and placed him on the practice squad Oct. 12. He made his NFL debut Dec. 6 and recorded his first career catch in Week 16.

With 13 snaps (28%) on the field against Chicago, Dafney played the third-most among Packers tight ends behind Robert Tonyan (61%) and Marcedes Lewis (46%).

Other notes from Sunday’s snap counts:

— The 46 offensive snaps were a season-low for Green Bay. In fact, the Packers had never had fewer than 60 offensive snaps in their previous 15 contests this season.

— “Snacks” Harrison made his Packers debut Sunday and was on the field for 12 of Green Bay’s 75 defensive snaps (16%). He did not record any statistics.

— Following his breakout game against Tennessee — 21 carries for 124 yards and two scores — rookie AJ Dillon returned to being the Packers’ third option at RB with Jamaal Williams back in action. Dillon played five snaps (11%) and rushed once for three yards. Williams played 12 snaps (26%) and rushed five times for 26 yards.

— Eight different Packers defenders played more snaps than linebacker Krys Barnes (79%), but he led the team in tackles with 14 against Chicago.

 

WEEK 17: AT BEARS (OFFENSE)

PLAYER PLAYS (46) %
Jenkins 46 100%
Patrick 46 100%
Turner 46 100%
Linsley 46 100%
Wagner 46 100%
Rodgers 46 100%
Adams 41 89%
Lazard 36 78%
Jones 32 70%
Tonyan 28 61%
Valdes-Scantling 22 48%
Lewis 21 46%
St. Brown 15 33%
Dafney 13 28%
Williams 12 26%
Dillon 5 11%
Austin 5 11%

 

WEEK 17: AT BEARS (DEFENSE)

PLAYER PLAYS (75) %
Amos 75 100%
Savage 75 100%
King 74 99%
Alexander 74 99%
Z. Smith 66 88%
Sullivan 65 87%
Clark 63 84%
P. Smith 62 83%
Barnes 59 79%
Lowry 53 71%
Redmond 35 47%
Kirksey 35 47%
Gary 30 40%
Lancaster 24 32%
Harrison 12 16%
Martin 11 15%
Ramsey 6 8%
Price 3 4%
Burks 1 1%
Scott 1 1%