Richard Rodgers poised to be major Packers red zone target
By Evan Massey
Richard Rodgers is entering his second NFL season, and is ready to take a big leap forward with the Green Bay Packers. He showed flashes of brilliance last season, and was the starting tight end against the New England Patriots in their first preseason game last night. Green Bay has high hopes for him this year, and he is reportedly one of the Packers’ top red zone targets in training camp so far for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
During the 2014 season, Rodgers caught just 20 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He ended up playing a decently sized role in the postseason as well, and caught five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Obviously those numbers aren’t huge, but he showed the ability to be an above average route runner, and he has a great pair of hands. Gaining the trust of the entire offense is never easy for a young player, but that is exactly what Rodgers was able to do as a rookie. There are quite a few areas that he needs to improve in order to be a great starter, but he could step in this season and do a very solid job.
Andrew Quarless is the other tight end on the roster capable of starting, but he is dealing with off-the-field issues. There is a good chance that he could be suspended to start the season, which would throw Rodgers out onto the field immediately.
Needless to say, this news coming out of Packers practice is a very good sign for the Green Bay offense.
At 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, there are not many defenders that can match up with Rodgers. He is too big for defensive backs to come up and defend, but is too quick for most linebackers to stay with. Rodgers is the exact kind of mismatch maker that every offense loves to have at tight end, and he hasn’t even begun to touch his full potential yet.
Looking ahead at the 2015 season, fans should get used to hearing Rodgers’ name as the starting tight end. While some view Quarless as a better all-around player, there is no question that the second-year tight end has passed Quarless as a receiver. The Packers’ coaching staff has done an excellent job developing Rodgers and he is ready to take the next step in his sophomore NFL season.
Expect to see a big season from Rodgers and to see him prove himself to be more than capable of being a starting NFL tight end.
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