Quarless as the Packers Fullback? Intriguing…

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Packers TE Andrew Quarless
Andrew Quarless could play fullback for the Packers on Sunday.

If John Kuhn is out on Sunday when the Packers play the Bengals, it sounds like tight end Andrew Quarless could spend some time in the Packers backfield as a fullback.

Quarless at fullback could very well be a disaster, but it intrigues me.

Back when D.J. Williams was on the team, I always thought he looked better when he lined up as a fullback than he did at tight end. I wonder if I might feel the same about Quarless after Sunday.

Quarless at fullback could give the Packers more options for pre-snap motion or other funky formations. Quarless also might operate better in space than Kuhn if Aaron Rodgers finds him on a dumpoff pass.

Of course, Quarless’s main responsibility will be pass blocking. Can Quarless be trusted to read defenses and identify blitzers like Kuhn can? If he can’t, the Quarless at fullback experiment will end quickly.

If he can pass block, Quarless would provide more versatility on third downs than Kuhn can as the backfield pass blocker. Then again, maybe Mike McCarthy won’t even put him in high-pressure pass-blocking situations.

Can Quarless clear a path for James Starks in the running game? He lined up at fullback after Kuhn got hurt against the Redskins and made a key block that sprung Starks for a 32-yard touchdown. He certainly looked capable on that play.

Sunday’s game probably won’t hinge on Quarless’s play at fullback, but when you’re trying to beat a tough opponent on the road, little things matter. One missed blitz pickup can alter the course of a game. One key block that seals the edge on a sweep can lead to a late-game first down that brings you one step closer to a win.

Quarless as a fullback will be interesting to watch.

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • Dobber

    If he’s not comfortable back there, why not line him up in a 2-tight, 2-wide, single back set?

    • mudduckcheesehead

      So happy to see Quarless back after that nasty injury, I’m really rooting for him.

      It’d be sweet if, like you said Adam, he can give us more options with formations, motion and little dumpoff passes. As long as the Mayor is not yet up to speed, I like Quarless in this role better than Kuhn at this point in his career. Here’s hoping he can pass block!

      • mudduckcheesehead

        Sorry, meant as a reply to Adam, not Robber. Need morning coffee.

        • mudduckcheesehead

          Sorry, Dobber, didn’t mean to call you names. Damn autocorrect!

        • Dobber

          My police record IS long and distinguished…

  • marpag

    Sure, stick Quarless in the backfield a few extra times, but as for the game this weekend, Quarless is what he is and you’re not going to turn him into a fullback before then.

    In general, I’d rather see double tight or four wide anyway.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Even on 3rd and 1?

      • aaronqb

        How about Raji or Pickett or CJ Wilson as the FB in 3rd and 1?

        • mudduckcheesehead

          Or Jolly?

      • marpag

        Like I said… “a few extra times.”

    • Oppy

      I don’t know if it still holds true in 2013, but early in MM’s tenure I know for a fact that all TE’s were cross-trained at the FB- it was just how they work the TE position because they often ask the TEs to shift into the backfield.

      IT’s entirely possible that Quarless, as well as the rest of the TE’s on the roster, is for all intents and purposes already fully versed in the FB position.

  • MakinDay

    As you mentioned, we all saw this:

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000244469/Starks-scores-on-32-yard-touchdown

    I like the hesitation in the hole, he found a scraping LB to block which ultimately sprung the run.

    I don’t see Quarless in any one back sets, which will minimize his backfield exposure in passing situations, and he will be an excellent play-action option obviously.

    I am looking forward to Finley on the line and Quarless in the backfield. Although that is a power formation, we do not give up too much in the passing game. McCarthy deserves praise for his creativity in personnel use.

  • Wagszilla

    Glad to see everyone has finally caught on to Quarless Magic.

  • Mojo

    If it’s any consolation, we probably won’t see that quick hitter they do with Kuhn all the time if Quarless is lined up at FB.

    • mudduckcheesehead

      Thank God for that!

  • aaronqb

    I think it will be good to see what the Packers might look like in the post-Kuhn era. And this could happen as soon as next season as Kuhn is scheduled to become a free agent after the season.

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    I agree with the comments as to the quick handoff to Kuhn, one yard in a cloud of dust. Hope it isn’t any uglier with Quarless in there. Is that even possible?