1) Introduction: A fifth round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2003, Donald Lee was signed in free agency by the Green Bay Packers in 2005. His career hasn’t been as bright as some other tight ends in Green Bay history; nevertheless, he did serve his role well in the Packers’ “transition” from Bubba Franks to Jermichael Finley. From 2007-2009, Lee had a combined 124 receptions for 1,138 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Donald Tywon Lee
Height: 6-3 Weight: 255 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season: With the emergence of superstar Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee’s role this season fell significantly. In fact, the only thing keeping Lee on the roster seemed to be his veteran experience. After the Packers drafted Andrew Quarless and signed Tom Crabtree, the tight end position suddenly became more crowded. Lee was still expected to perform to his previous level of play, but it was clear the younger players were taking over quickly.
4) Highlights / Lowlights: Donald Lee finally made an impact on the offense in Weeks 16 and 17 after a long dry spell going back to the very beginning of the year. He scored two goal line touchdowns (one in each game), and the one against Chicago ended up being the only Packers touchdown all game. Lee’s most glaring lowlight of the season was his early fumble against the Washington Redskins in Week 5. Not only did it give up possession, but it was the play in which Jermichael Finley suffered his season-ending injury while trying to make a tackle after the recovery. While Finley’s injury can’t really be blamed on Lee, he did serve as a nice scapegoat for thousands of frustrated fans.
5) Contributions to the overall team success: As I noted in an earlier article this year (“Packing the Stats: Packers Tight Ends Forgotten with Finley Gone”), the tight end position was all but forgotten after Finley’s injury. Donald Lee had arguably the worst season of his career with the Green Bay Packers in 2010. He dropped eight of 55 passes (14.6%), the worst drop rate of his career and on the team. Two of the drops were in the red zone. Even his blocking seemed to lack in effort. While the young guys (Quarless and Crabtree) were rising, Lee was definitely falling.
6) Contributions during the end-of-season 6-game run: Mentioned above, Donald Lee made an important contribution to the team with his two touchdown receptions against the Giants and Bears at the end of the regular season. Unfortunately, Lee was practically invisible in the postseason. He started just two of the four games, had only one target, and made zero receptions. Even more depressing for Lee is that this lack of production wasn’t a far cry from his performance during the earlier part of the year.
Season Report Card:
(D-) Level of expectations met during the season
(D) Contributions to team’s overall success
(D+) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)
Overall Grade for the Year: (D)——————Follow @ChadToporski