There are some fans and pundits out there that may be concerned about the Green Bay Packers wide receiver situation and it’s easy to see why. The Packers lost not only Donald Driver to retirement but also Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings via free agency.
Only adding to the concern is the fact that the Packers have done nothing more to address the position than draft two projects in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft as well as sign some un-drafted free agents. But quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers aren’t concerned and you shouldn’t be either.
Considering the Packers still have Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley, there is plenty of talent for Rodgers and the offense to light up the scoreboard again in 2013.
Yet a new weapon in the passing game may be developing after all — in the way of fourth-year tight end Andrew Quarless, who has turned heads this week during the Packers organized team activities.
Here’s what Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had to say about the former Penn State tight end in an OTA recap, “Quarless looked like a player who can help the Green Bay offense in 2013 at Tuesday’s organized team activity.”
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told Dunne that this is the best shape Quarless has been in since being drafted by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
“I have all the confidence in the world he’s ready,” McCarthy said after practice, “and when you watch him play he’s probably moving better than before the injury.”
After a promising start to his career in 2010, when he started three games for the Super Bowl Champion Packers and caught 21 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. Yet a gruesome knee injury in 2011 cost him a good chunk of that season and all of 2012.
Quarless was taken off the physically unable to perform list in November but the Packers were cautious with him so he never saw the field but now he appears to be fully healthy and ready to contribute.
At 6-4, 248 pounds, the fourth-year man has the ability to create mismatches at the tight end position or in the slot and with his willingness to block, he has a great chance to be the no.2 tight end behind Finley.
That would allow McCarthy to use both Finley and Quarless in two tight end sets, which would create some mismatches, particularly with Finley’s effectiveness in the slot. Coming out of Penn State, Quarless was known more as a pass-catching tight end, not the blocking tight end he became out of necessity with the Packers and with his athleticism it’s easy to see why.
If he can get back to being his old self — the Packers could have two very talented tight ends, which could help fill the void at wide receiver.
For now though, Quarless told the Journal-Sentinel, he’s just happy to get back out there and compete.
“It just makes you stronger as a player and as a person,” Quarless said. “It was one of the toughest things just to watch and not be able to contribute last year. So to get back out there and compete this year, I’m just thankful.”