Quarless Made Big Strides on PUP

Andrew Quarless, Derek Sherrod and Frank Zombo are eligible to start practicing after Sunday's game, with the team having a three-week window to add them to the active roster.

They've got one more game on the sideline, but Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and linebacker Frank Zombo are eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list after Sunday's game at Houston.

"That's really next week's conversation, but they're progressing," coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday. "Frank is getting close, I know Andrew also seems to be pretty close and Derek's probably a little further away."

The players can begin practicing next week, though they will not count on the 53-man roster. The team has a three-week window to activate the player, release him or put him on injured reserve.

Quarless said he's "definitely" ready after suffering a major knee injury at the New York Giants on Dec. 4, but knows the medical staff might not share his opinion.

"It's still not set that I'm going to practice next week but that's where we're at," he told Packer Report at the end of Thursday's media session. "Right now, I'm polishing everything up as far as fundamentals and little stuff. I'll know by the end of this week."

While the team practices on Clarke Hinkle Field, Quarless is working on blocking and running routes in the Don Hutson Center.

In August, Quarless believed he was ready to compete for a job in training camp. As it turns out, Quarless said he made his biggest gains during the six weeks on the PUP list.

"These last six weeks have been great," he said. "I'm feeling good. We kind of took off a little bit about two weeks ago (when) it kind of swelled up but I think I was just really overtraining. I think it's going to pay off. It's been a tough road, coming off my first injury ever. Mentally, it's been a tough road but I know it's going to pay off."

When cleared to practice, where do the PUP players fit on the roster? Quarless had challenged — and perhaps surpassed — Tom Crabtree as the unit's best run blocker last season, plus has the hands to contribute in the passing game.

Sherrod would bolster the offensive line's depth. As it is, an injury to either of the starting offensive tackles would require left guard T.J. Lang to move outside. With Sherrod, that no longer would be the case.

The real mystery is Zombo. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has found the right mix with a rotation of Nick Perry and Erik Walden at left outside linebacker and Clay Matthews being the every-down player on the right side. At best, Zombo would play on special teams and challenge rookie Dezman Moses as the fourth linebacker in the 1-4-6 "bat" package.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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