At tight end, the Packers like what last year's third-round pick, Richard Rodgers, showed late in the season, when he became more involved in the offense, but it's still too early to say whether he'll be the playmaker that Jermichael Finley was before his neck injury. Behind Rodgers and Andrew Quarless, the Packers are thin. Once a promising prospect, Brandon Bostick was released on Monday, a month after he botched the onside kick recovery in the NFC Championship Game.
Neither Rodgers nor Quarless established themselves as a consistent threat as a fantasy tight end. The Packers may look to shore up the position this offseason.
Monday, November 10, 2014, 2:10pm
Coach Mike McCarthy hinted last week this was coming, that the Green Bay Packers' tight ends -- even seldom-used Brandon Bostick -- might have a bigger role in the offense than they did in the first half of the season.
But even with that forewarning, it was still stunning to see quarterback Aaron Rodgers throw the first two of his six touchdown passes in Sunday night's rout of the Chicago Bears to tight ends. Bostick, who had one catch for 2 yards all season, was the recipient of the first, on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Andrew Quarless got the second, on third-down from the 4-yard line.
It was the first time since Week 3 of the 2011 season, when Jermichael Finley had three touchdowns against the Bears, that Packers tight ends have caught more than one touchdown pass in a game. And it was the first time since Week 2 of 2007, when Bubba Franks and Donald Lee had touchdowns against the New York Giants, that two different Packers tight ends have caught touchdowns.
On Bostick's TD, the team lined up without the likes of WRs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb on the field and it was Bostick on the receiving end of a play-action pass. Eventually, Nelson and Cobb got involved but if Rodgers can add TEs as targets it's only going to make him more productive. While Bostick and Quarless aren't quite top-notch fantasy tight ends just yet, they do potentially take away targets and TDs from those Packers who are owned.
Andrew Quarless has officially taken over the Packers' starting tight end job from rookie Richard Rodgers. For the first time this season, Quarless was listed as the starter on the team's weekly depth chart.
Quarless had been in Aaron Rodgers' ear most of Sunday’s game, letting him know that he can beat the defender when it's a linebacker assigned to cover him. On the game-winning play, Rodgers saw the same matchup, changed the call and went right to Quarless.
"It's plays like that that you feel really good about the connection you have with the receiver when you can make that eye contact and be on the same page," Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "I'm proud of Q. He's a guy who's made some big plays over the years and hopefully this is the start of getting him some more opportunities."
Quarless is in the mix as a fantasy TE2 given the confidence that Rodgers has in him and the overall production of the Green Bay offense. It doesn't look like Richard Rodgers is going to make much of a fantasy impact this year.
The issue is that Packers TE Brandon Bostick, a former college wide receiver, hasn't mastered all the tight end assignments and TE coach Jerry Fontenot refuses to put him on the field until he does. If Bostick shows in a game he's not on the same page as quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he might as well head for the bench anyway because he's not going to see the ball after that.
"I need to feel more comfortable with the things we're doing in practice," Fontenot said. "I need to see that he's making split-second decisions, the right decisions. We're still getting there."
Fontenot made it clear that if it were just a matter of Bostick running pass routes from a slot position, things would be different. But the tight ends have to block and run routes from an in-line position, line up wide as a receiver and serve as fullbacks on some running plays.
They probably have to know more about the offense than everybody but Rodgers. Fontenot said he would not put Bostick in the game without some mystery as to what he was going to do.
Bostick played some last year, but the Packers were in dire need after Jermichael Finley went down. Now they are comfortable with rookie Richard Rodgers and veteran Andrew Quarless. Bostick will have to prove that he is completely comfortable in the offense before he'll start seeing consistent snaps.
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:24pm
Packers TE Brandon Bostick (fibula) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Bostick is back in the mix. Richard Rodgers didn’t do much against the Seahawks and Andrew Quarless is a replacement level talent. This is a murky situation at this point.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 7:02pm
Packers TE Brandon Bostick (fibula) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Bostick is back in the mix. Richard Rodgers didn’t do much against the Seahawks and Andrew Quarless is a replacement level talent. This is a murky situation at this point.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:41pm
Jerry Fontenot likely will follow a similar same plan he used with tight end Andrew Quarless in 2012, when Quarless missed the entire season while recovering from knee surgery.
To keep Quarless involved, Fontenot would have him write out the test that the tight ends take at the end of the week in order to make sure they're dialed in to the game plan.
For Lyerla, just having the opportunity to be around the team this season should benefit him even though he won't be allowed to practice. He has not practiced since Aug. 2, when he tore both the medial collateral ligament and posterior collateral ligament in his right knee. Lyerla said he will not need surgery, but the injury will take more than a month to heal.
That means it will be another year without game experience for Lyerla, who has not played since he left the University of Oregon last fall.
The Packers are now playing the long game with Lyerla, who would have been a first or second round talent if not for a variety of off field issues.
In the search for Jermichael Finley's replacement, it's a close race between Packers TEs Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers. Ultimately, Rodgers, a third-round pick, might end up as the top tight end among the group long term. But so far in camp and through the first preseason game, Bostick looks like he's the most ready-made replacement for Finley's big-play ability in the passing game.
Whoever plays starter's snaps (if anyone) for the Packers will hold fantasy value, but the team could elect to rotate Bostick and Rodgers, limiting both players upside until an injury occurs.
Beat writer Tyler Dunne on the Packers' TE situation:
The rookie (Richard Rodgers) drew the start in the first preseason game and held his own. His upside is immense. The Packers have two years invested in (Brandon Bostick), and seem ready to expand his role in the offense. (Ryan Taylor) is a fierce blocker and remains one of Green Bay's top special teams players. The wild card appears to be (Andrew Quarless), who was injured the entire spring and has had a quiet camp. But the Packers have kept four tight ends every year since 2010, and even kept five in 2011. If the Packers don't stray from that philosophy, Quarless should be safe. The controversial Lyerla (knee) will likely receive an injury settlement or end up on the injured list.
Rodgers and Bostick offer explosion and playmaking ability in the passing game, while Quarless has experience after starting much of the season last year. Given that he started the first preseason game, it appears that Rodgers has the edge, but Bostick had a nifty catch and run later in the game. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 11:18am
No one from the Packers tight end group has emerged as the favorite to replace Jermichael Finley, although Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers have had their moments (both good and bad).
On the topic of TE Richard Rodgers...
"He moves well," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Catches everything."
The passing game has always been the easy part for Richard Rodgers. He played wide receiver in high school before moving to tight end at California, where he bulked up to 275 pounds as a freshman and sophomore.
Last year, he lost 30 pounds to play a split-receiver position at 245. He's back up in the 270-275 range now and blocking as well as any tight end in camp, according to TE coach Jerry Fontenot.
An NFL source told ESPN.com that Jermichael Finley's tweet ("Let's Try This Again. #GreenBay") did not mean the Packers had cleared Finley medically or were in negotiations with him. The source said "there’s nothing going on" with Finley and the Packers in terms of contract talks.
Finley last met with the Packers' medical staff on May 28 in what was described at the time by a source close to the situation as “a formality” because Finley had not checked in with the Packers recently.
According to USA Today, Finley was expected to undergo more tests this week. It is possible Finley's meeting with McKenzie is to review those results.
Thursday, July 17, 2014, 12:42pm
Packers TE Richard Rodgers was perhaps the most impressive rookie in the offseason practices, making difficult catches look easy. One member of the team's personnel department predicted Rodgers would be the opening-day starter ahead of Andrew Quarless.
If that's the case, Rodgers will be a sleeper fantasy TE2-type in a potent Packers offense, but there are a lot of moving parts here.
If Jermichael Finley's days in Green Bay are over, Packers TE Andrew Quarless is probably the safest option to begin the season. But after shining throughout the spring, the rookie Richard Rodgers could be the starter sooner rather than later.
Rodgers (6-foot-4, 257 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds coming out of California. That's two-tenths of a second slower than Finley ran back in 2008.
But Rodgers spent a lot of time working from the slot at Cal, the same place Finley did much of his damage while in Green Bay. Rodgers also has strong hands, changed his body while at Cal, and made plays throughout the spring.
The Packers have never been shy about playing rookies under head coach Mike McCarthy. And Rodgers could be the latest to get a shot.
"Richard Rodgers ... had a very good spring," McCarthy said. "There haven't been too many days where we have not walked off the field and reviewed film and felt very good about the things he is doing.
"The game is very natural to him. I've been very pleased with Richard so far."
Whoever plays starter's snaps for the Packers at tight end will be fantasy relevant. Rodgers is having a great summer and could emerge as the starter if Finley doesn't return to the team.
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