Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 Packer Free Agents: James Starks and Andrew Quarless

With RB James Starks and TE Andrew Quarless, these are guys who could help the Green Bay Packers next season, maybe, but the team shouldn't make a huge effort to bring back.

Previously: Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. Marshall Newhouse.
I really do like Starks, but the problem for him in the NFL is the same one he had in college; he can't stay healthy. A freak injury or two, like a broken collerbone, is one thing, but his injuries have been a persistent problem for years. The above picture is from his best game of the season (he played 64 snaps against the team from Washington in Week 2). The next week in Cincinnati, he got hurt, and he didn't play again until Week 8 against the Vikings. He was good in every game last season, his only negative scores from Pro Football Focus came in the weeks when he played on only a handful of snaps, but even in a relatively healthy year he still missed a few games. His unreliability is a big reason why he's no longer the starting RB and they drafted Eddie Lacy last season. He's good, but there's no need to spend big dollars or offer multiple years to a backup, injury prone RB.

Quarless was a major disappointment last season. After finally returning to health after a major 2011 injury, he was part of the rotation before TE Jermichael Finley's spinal injury (28 to 43 snaps per game) and he played even more (31 to 74 snaps) after it, but at no point did he improve. He wasn't a disaster as a receiver; he actually made little impact and was hardly featured (only 54 targets for the season), which wasn't good considering he was best known as a receiver coming out of college. Even worse, he was terrible as a run blocker, his cumulative 2013 season rating as a run blocker from Pro Football Focus was a minus 11.2, while he was considered the best blocker among the tight ends before his 2011 injury. A tight end who isn't a plus as a receiver and terrible as a run blocker shouldn't be a priority to re-sign.

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