Offseason Progress Report: Tight Ends

Without Jermichael Finley, tight end is the most wide-open position on the roster. Andrew Quarless is the returning starter but can Brandon Bostick or Richard Rodgers challenge to be the top dog?

With four weeks of offseason practices behind them, Packer Report is taking a position-by-position look at the Green Bay Packers. We continue with the tight ends.

Depth chart

No.TIGHT ENDSHTWTAGEYEARCOLLEGE
81 Quarless, Andrew 6-4 252 25 5 Penn State
86Bostick, Brandon 6-3 250 25 2 Newberry College
89 Rodgers, Richard 6-4 257 21 R California
85 Stoneburner, Jake 6-3 249 24 2 Ohio State
82 Taylor, Ryan 6-3 254 26 4 North Carolina
46 Lyerla, Colt 6-4 247 21 R Oregon
80 Perillo, Justin 6-3 250 23 R Maine

The answer

Unless Jermichael Finley returns, there are no answers. Can Andrew Quarless raise his level of play after last year's comeback? Can Brandon Bostick turn promise into production? Can rookie third-round pick Richard Rodgers block as well when the pads go on as he can catch the ball when the pads are off? Did a year of seasoning on the practice squad put Jake Stoneburner in position to make an impact? Can Ryan Taylor be anything more than a special-teams player? Is Colt Lyerla any good, or is he just a big, fast guy who's had some issues?

No wonder tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot called this the most wide-open position on the team.

The question

Is there a legit, front-line tight end on the roster, or will it be a mix-and-match of personnel based on situations?

"I think this is a big time," Bostick said. "Not only for me but everybody. Like Coach said, there are some tight end spots open, so we're just trying to get the spot. When I come back, I want to be the starter."

After missing the end of 2011 and all of 2012 with a serious knee injury, Quarless caught 32 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns last season. He had back-to-back games of six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta and Dallas but managed only four receptions for 48 yards and no scores in the final three games (including playoffs). He didn't practice at all during the preseason due to an undisclosed injury.

To take the next step in his career, he needs to "finish better," Fontenot said. That means finish as a blocker and finish when he gets the ball in his hands in the passing game. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Finley gained 238 yards after his 25 catches. Quarless gained just 140 yards after his 32 catches.

Bostick caught seven passes for 120 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown against Philadelphia. He missed the final two games with a foot injury that required surgery and kept him out of most of the offseason practices. He's the one player with the speed to challenge defenses. Will this be the year the former Division II receiver becomes a key contributor?

"I think I can accomplish anything I want to," he said.

With the injuries to Quarless and Bostick, Rodgers got as much playing time with the starters as any of this year's draft picks. Rodgers, who played receiver at Cal, isn't gifted athletically but he's got excellent hands and a big catch radius. The question is, will that translate to training camp and beyond?

"I like what I see so far. It will be fun to get the pads on to see how he handles things physically," Fontenot said.

Roster prediction

Quarless, Bostick, Rodgers and Taylor.


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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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