Will TE Andrew Quarless step up for the Packers in 2015?
By Evan Massey
Andrew Quarless isn’t the first name that comes to mind when thinking about the targets that Green Bay Packers’ superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers has to throw to. Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and even Davante Adams come to mind before the starting tight end does. That being said, Green Bay is going to need Quarless to step up and come up with a big season in 2015.
Last season with Green Bay, Quarless ended up catching just 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers are never going to make the cut for a starting tight end, and he is entering what will likely be a make or break season.
Rodgers is hoping to see his 6-foot-4 and 252-pound tight end take the leap this season. He has seen improvement in Quarless, and there is no question that the talent is there for him to have a major breakout season. If he continues working hard and developing chemistry with Rodgers, there is nothing holding him back from coming out in 2015 and proving that he is a starting caliber NFL tight end.
At just 26 years old, Quarless is finally entering the prime of his career. He hadn’t seen a large role until Jermichael Finley went down with a serious neck injury that forced him to end his career early. Quarless began showing signs of improvement late last season as Rodgers stated, and it could very well be due to the fact that he is finally beginning to understand the speed of the NFL.
It isn’t easy for young players in any sport to get used to the speed and athleticism that they face at the highest level in their sport.
Physically, there aren’t many tight ends around the league that are superior to Quarless. He is fairly quick for a guy his size, and has good ability as a route runner as well. His hands could use some work, but he is capable of making tough catches and has proven that in clutch situations at times over the past couple of seasons.
Quarless doesn’t feel that he has been getting the type of respect that he deserves, and he is out to prove himself with a chip on his shoulders this offseason. He talked about that fact in an interview with Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel.
“I definitely feel like an underdog,” Quarless said. “I watch the film — every week. I watch the film and see what’s out there. And I know myself and my potential. So I’ve been working hard, keeping that in the back of my mind and staying hungry, trying to be the best and take this team back to the Super Bowl.”
Needless to say, the Packers are still hanging onto the hope that he can break through into his full potential. Richard Rodgers is heading into his second year as well after showing quite a bit of talent as a rookie in 2014, and will take over some time from Quarless if he doesn’t show up early on in the season. The pressure is on him this year, and he has to find a way to live up to the expectations.
Mike McCarthy and the Packers’ coaching staff is excellent at bringing players along and developing their skills, and that is a big reason that he is still on the roster with a chance to prove himself.
Expect to see him come through with a much improved season, and to show why the Packers have kept their faith in him alive. If Quarless can step up and reach his full potential, Rodgers will see his job slinging touchdowns get even easier.
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