Packers Annual Checkup: Andrew Quarless
FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Andrew Quarless, tight end
Season stats: 17 games (752 snaps; 62.4 percent of total offensive snaps); 33 catches, 55 targets, 320 yards, two touchdowns, two dropped passes, forced three missed tackles, two penalties committed
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-6.9 (ranked No. 19 out of 23 Packers offensive players; ranked No. 3 out of 4 Packers qualified NFL tight ends)
Best game: Week 15 win at Dallas (played 58 of 75 snaps; six catches (seven targets), 66 yards, one touchdown, zero dropped passes, forced two missed tackles; 1.4 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 7 win vs. Cleveland (played 35 of 72 snaps; zero catches (zero targets), one penalty committed, one QB hit allowed; minus-3.9 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Medium
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: Andrew Quarless entered the 2013 offseason programs just happy to be healthy. After all, he missed the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from the gruesome knee injury that he suffered in December 2011. But after watching the way Quarless was moving around during offseason training activities (OTAs), coach Mike McCarthy had high expectations for what could be accomplished. "I really look for him to make an impact and definitely give us that player that we all felt that he was coming on there at the end of his rookie year," McCarthy said in May 2013. Quarless had high expectations for himself too, but he displayed some caution within his optimism. "I do want to be the best tight end to play the game, but first I’ve got to take little steps and just get back out there," Quarless said at the time. By training camp in late July, McCarthy admitted that Quarless "still has some hurdles to clear." Quarless was getting closer to clearing those hurdles when he suffered a quadriceps injury midway through training camp and ending up missing nine practices and two preseason games. But in the big picture, by the time the regular season was underway, Quarless had put his devastating 2011 knee injury behind him, and that was the most important factor in being able to continue his career without any further interruption.
Upon further review: Perhaps it was related to his knee injury, or maybe not, but Quarless was a good run-blocker a couple years ago. In 2013, not so much. He went from being the best among the tight end group then to arguably the worst now (and no better than the inexperienced Brandon Bostick, which is saying something). Aside from Week 1, when he only played eight snaps, Quarless was involved in the Packers’ offense early in the season, even before Jermichael Finley’s season-ending neck injury. Quarless wasn’t as involved in the passing game as he would be later, but he was still seeing around 50 percent of the snaps through Week 7. Then, through unfortunate circumstances, Quarless got his chance to be a starter after Finley was lost for the year. That increase in role seemed to help Quarless, who was more consistent as his playing time went up. Working with Matt Flynn at quarterback in Weeks 14 and 15, Quarless posted the two best receiving games of his career. In back-to-back games, he recorded six catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t running through would-be tacklers like Finley was, but Quarless proved to be a reliable target when one was very much needed. Of course, the most important thing for Quarless in 2013 was that he played in all 17 games (playoffs included) without any setbacks. That was very positive progress for him.
Overall 2013 grade: C-plus
Status for 2014: One-hundred percent chance of being on Green Bay’s active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Quarless re-signed with the Packers this offseason for a new two-year, $3 million deal. Still only 25 years old, Quarless has some room to improve now that he’s more than two seasons removed from his knee injury. The new contract is a very modest offer, and it’s somewhat surprising that Quarless didn’t command a bit more money elsewhere. Given Finley’s very uncertain future, Quarless would have a chance to compete with Bostick for significant playing time in 2014, at least as the roster stands now. However, tight end could be a position that general manager Ted Thompson decides to go after with an early-to-mid-round draft pick. If that happens, Quarless will have to fight to maintain the role that he enjoyed in 2013.
Next: Defensive lineman B.J. Raji
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