Breaking Down the Odds on the Packers’ Tight Ends for the 2014-2015 Season

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Packers Rookie TE Richard Rodgers
Packers Rookie TE Richard Rodgers

NFL Football is coming, folks. Catch a few World Cup games, maybe nap through a baseball game or two, and boom: the preseason starts. In the meantime, it’s time to breakdown one of the most interesting positions for the Packers ahead of the coming season: tight end.

After the 2014 NFL Draft, Green Bay is solidly amongst the favorites for the coming season, with the fifth-best 2015 Super Bowl odds. But after Jermichael Finley was only able to play six games in 2013, putting up 300 yards and three scores, the Pack’s management has left door open for a new tight end to step in as a legitimate short route threat.

With that in mind, here is a look at the three names that could define the discussion for the green and gold going into the preseason.

Anthony Quarless

Green Bay is coming into training camp with a variety of question marks at tight end that could end up producing in a major way in the NFL. Quarless is not one of them.

We all know what he can do. Quarless started 10 games last season (32 catches, two touchdowns) after missing 2012 due to injury. He can block, and stay on the field in a variety of situations. His dependability made him an asset that as many as eight teams were interested in this offseason before the Packers resigned him.

Quarless’ general consistency puts Mike McCarthy and his staff in the position to be a bit more risky with the depth chart below Quarless in an effort to find a more dynamic offensive threat.

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers is the most reliable bet for the future. The University of California product brings a so-so college resume to the table, having put up 39 receptions for 608 yards in 2013. Still, Rodgers will have every opportunity to succeed in camp, as the Packers picked Rodgers below the rank many draft experts expected him to land at.

Pessimism aside, Rodgers has earned the respect of perhaps the most important voice in the discussion: the pre-eminent Rodgers in Packers territory. Aaron Rodgers has been repeatedly quoted as loving what the rookie tight end can do, and that enthusiasm alone would be enough to push most contenders onto the opening day roster.

Colt Lyerla

Taking advantage of the Packers’ strong organizational culture and locker room leadership, Ted Thompson took a flyer on the troubled Colt Lyerla, and the longshot may be the team’s best chance at making an impact in the 2014 season. Lylera’s off-field struggles with attitude and drug possession, have been widely-documented, but his achievements are less talked about.

The bruising Lyerla ran a third-best 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine, and had the highest and broadest jumps amongst tight ends. Even if he did quit the Oregon Ducks after being suspended, the influence of one of the strongest organizations in professional sports may be the difference between this raw physical talent throwing his career away and taking a chance to be a playmaker in the NFL.

All told, it’s a positive outlook for the Packers tight ends coming into the 2014 season. At worst, Quarless is a serviceable starter. At best, Rodgers or Lyerla impress their way into playing time and help improve the Packers 2014 odds in the process.

  • Stroh

    No mention of Brandon Bostic? The search for a playmaking TE to replace Finley starts w/ Bostic! He has measurable just as good as Lyerla and has shown glimpses of excellent potential. Not even mentioning him in the discussion is a TRAVESTY!

    I don’t think Quarless is going to be a great TE or a playmaker, but I have no problems w/ him as the starting TE. He deserves a shot to start. Being another year removed from a pretty bad knee injury could mean he could still take another step up.

    In a year or two maybe Rodgers, Bostic and Lyerla will be among the playmakers and develop into a top shelf TE, but that’s not happening this year especially for Rodgers and Lyerla.

    Bostic is 2 yrs ahead of them and could be among the better receiving TE’s in the NFL. Not a guarantee or prediction, but he could easily be what Rodgers and Lyerla are talked about as. This is Bostic’s year… Make it big or he’ll wash out.

    • packett

      What is the criteria to shed the ‘Troubled’ label? Are we going to hear this all year? Does it follow him all his football life even if he has a couple of sterling years, and we’re looking for just one reason to point to a the first scuffle, to tag him again with that label? Can we let this rest now that he is in a new environment? It does a disservice to the player and fans to repackage this “troubled” label, and keep reinforcing the perception. I make a motion, starting with all packer writers give him a fresh start, unless proven otherwise, he is simply a potentially highly talented player. If you absolutely must show your ‘expert judgement of character’, please deal with it with an asterik and fine print at the bottom, ok?

      • packett

        This was not meant as reply to Stroh, was meant for the writers and general audience.

      • http://aljersey duhawks

        AMEN! Let us not forget not too many years ago we had a QB that had a problem also. He got help and all is forgiving. I say the same with Colt.Everyone of us all have perfect past right? Think ago and I will bet you were forgiven for your wrong doing!

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Adding to Stroh’s comments, it would have been nice to see Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner, and the Perillo kid in the discussion.

      Depending on how the Bs and QWRs work out, the team will need to make a serious decision between keeping an additional blocker/ST guy (Taylor) or receiver (Bostick/Stoneburner) at TE.

      I am interested to see what the new Rodgers and Lyerla can do in August, but there are no guarantees and position depth is just as important to evaluate at this point as potential star power

  • CM3ThumbsUp

    Quarless started for us on our 2010 Superbowl run — good enough for me!

  • WKUPackFan

    I second packett’s motion above along with everything he said.

  • http://allgbp.com Thegreatreynoldo

    I am not sure what “serviceable starter” means exactly, but Quarless won’t suck and he knows the offense, so I suppose he is serviceable. I liked what I saw from him pre-injury, so maybe he will regain his form. The 2-year, $3 million contract he signed as a UFA makes him the 34th highest paid TE in the NFL.

    No mention of Ryan Taylor. I know he really is just ST and the emergency long snapper, but for roster predictions he gets listed as a TE.

    My guess is GB keeps 4 TEs with Quarless and Rodgers as locks, and Bostick as extremely likely. That leaves Lyerla, Stoneburner, Taylor, & Perillo fighting for 1, (or maybe 2) roster spots.

  • Since ’61

    I’m not sure why Bostick and Taylor, at least, were left out of this article. In any case, I would expect MM to bring 4 TEs out of camp. He has kept as many as 5 in the past and maybe will again for special teams play. I hope the TE depth chart includes 1. Quarless, 2. Bostic, 3. R. Rodgers, 4. Lyerla. Maybe Taylor or Stoneburner for the PS or #5. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  • Slim11

    Taylor has received multiple opportunities to produce as a receiving TE and just hasn’t done the job. His ST play is what keeps him on the roster as it does with Jarrett Bush.

    Quarless is serviceable and then some. Did anyone notice Quarless had improved numbers receiving after Flynn became the starter last season? I suspect that improvement doesn’t go unnoticed by the coaching staff.

    The Packers have the luxury, and curse, of having to release some very good players when cuts are made.

  • Packers west

    I’m pretty optimistic about the TE position this year. Quarless is not spectacular but ok. I think Bostic has a good opportunity and can become a receiving threat. Rogers and Lyerla have the potential, realistically they probably need a year or two to develop. It should be a good competition in training camp.

    Maybe Colt Lyerla should change his first name to “talented but troubled”‘ sheesh give the kid a break.

  • Lou

    Agreed that Bostick is in for a make or break year, his body type and prior WR ability are made to order, if he blocks well he may have the starters job mid-season, until then Quarless experience will earn him the same opportunity. It will be hard to carry Taylor if Rodgers continues to show well no matter how he plays on ST, he fights catching the ball from scrimmage. Lyerla may be the future replacement for Kuhn based on his prior RB experience and flat out athletic skills, he could be a great 3rd down H-back.

    • JR

      I’m especially intrigued by the potential H-back talent that Lyerla can bring to the table. As a RB or a TE, he has the gifts and tools to be a major force in the NFL. His cutback, speed, burst and phenomenal jumping abilities make him an asset at both positions (RB and TE). Given his size and raw physicality, if Lyerla can learn to block effectively, I don’t see how the Packers could afford to keep him on the sidelines.

      Whether it be running out of the backfield as a RB or fastened on either end of the line as a TE or even split out wide as a WR. I hope the Packers coaching staff develops that dual threat, one-two punch that I think Lyerla can bring to the table as a RB (blocker/runner/receiver) and TE (blocker/receiver). If the GB’s staff can effectively teach him both positions, Colt Lyerla’s future is bright as an H-back.

  • funcrusher

    The packers TE situation is pretty comparable to what they have going on at safety. One average veteran and a few talented unprovens who will hopefully step up.

    I like what I’m hearing about Rodgers at OTA’s. Hopefully he plays the same when the pads go on and doesn’t go the DJ Williams route.

    With that being said, it’s hard to bet against Quarless being the starter week one. He knows the system and played pretty well last year.

  • charliefrog

    It’s Andrew Quarless, not Anthony

  • Nathan

    Isn’t Quarless’ first name Andrew and not Anthony?

  • Big T

    TT will trade to get Marshall Newhouse back and convert him to Tight End…

  • Archie

    Bostick is the guy to watch at TE this summer. If he stay’s healthy he figures to be #2 TE to Q. Rodgers will make the team obviously. Lyerla has a good shot as well. That makes four.