Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Who Will Start At Tight End for the Packers?

This recent mailbag on ESPN discussed a few interesting topics, and the one regarding the starting tight end position got my attention because I was just discussing that topic with a colleague.
Rob Demovsky's opinion is that if rookie TE Richard Rodgers "continues to show the ability to catch the ball down the field like he did this offseason, then he will be the starter." I'm not expecting much from the TE position in 2014, and I don't disagree with his assessment that Rodgers could be the starter, but I find it depressing.

In pre-draft evaluations, Rodgers came across as a finesse athlete who could be a sneaky weapon as a No. 2 TE, and compared him to TE Garrett Graham, who isn't much of a receiver. It was also noted that Rodgers would on occasion drop an easy reception.

His main competition is TE Andrew Quarless, who hasn't impressed so far in his NFL career. He could be an identical player; someone who isn't much of a blocker with the occasional drop. I'm still expecting Quarless to win the starting job because of his experience alone though I'm not expecting much from either one of them this preseason.

It's been reported that TE Jermichael Finley is healthy, but several weeks have passed since that report and you'd expect he'd have been signed somewhere if every team was convinced it was true. It's possible the Packers could re-sign him, but it feels like they've moved on.

As much as TE Colt Lyerla fascinates me, he's an unlikely candidate to earn a starting job and he's got to secure a roster spot first. I don't know how TE Ryan Taylor has kept a roster spot for three years (is it because he's the back-up long-snapper?) and TE Jake Stoneburner looks like Taylor v.2.0. Maybe TE Brandon Bostick will show more in his second season and I haven't yet seen undrafted rookie TE Justin Perillo play.

The Packers have so much offensive firepower at wide receiver and running back that they can afford to go with a second (or third, fourth) tier TE. Maybe it's good to keep my expectations so low that one of them will surprise me this preseason. But it remains a weakened position that shouldn't be expected to carry much of a load in 2014.

No comments: