Where's Bubba?

Whatever happened to Bubba Franks? No doubt, many Packers fans are wondering why the Pro Bowl tight end has not been catching more passes this season. Same here at PackerReport.com.

Franks had two catches for 16 yards Sunday in Green Bay's 23-20 loss to St. Louis. For the season, Franks, who was hoping to have a big season after an injury-plagued 2005 season, has all of 11 receptions for 105 yards. It's his lowest total through his first five games of a season in his seven-year career. He also doesn't have a touchdown in 2006.

Franks was wide open in the end zone against the Rams during a drive early in the second quarter on Sunday, but Brett Favre opted to try and squeeze a pass to David Martin in the back of the end zone. The throw was off the mark and nearly intercepted by middle linebacker Will Witherspoon. Franks could be seen on the same play running a short slant near the goal line, waving his arms with no one around him.

Plays like the aforementioned obviously are frustrating for Franks, who also was kicking himself for two blatant drops in a loss earlier this season against the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers are a tight-end heavy team, but thus far the group has mainly been used as added protection for Favre. Whether it's Franks, David Martin or Donald Lee, they often will slip out after blocking on pass plays to serve as a safety valve or checkdown receiver, but Favre has opted to throw more to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, who lead the team in receptions.

The offense will benefit by getting Franks more involved, and more than just using him for blocking. He is an excellent blocker, and with the exception of his game against New Orleans, has good hands. He also is a big target in the end zone and for short passes between the 20s that will help move the chains on offense. Heck, he can pass the ball pretty good, too. Remember in 2002 when he threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver (his first and only NFL attempt) in a 17-14 win over Carolina?

For a team that is thirsting for playmakers, Franks is a strong candidate. The Packers need to go to him more in the final 11 games.

Todd Korth

Agree? Disagree? E-mail your thoughts to PackerReport.com and Packer Report managing editor Todd Korth at packrepted@aol.com.

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