You want one that’s wide open? Here you go. The Green Bay Packers have no clear-cut starter at tight end for the 2014 season.
Jermichael Finley would be that guy, but he’s still unsigned. No team, including the Packers, is in a big hurry to employ a guy coming off a major neck injury or meet his price.
That’s not to say the Packers don’t have some intriguing prospects at tight end. They just don’t have a clear-cut No. 1 guy like Finley hanging around.
There are plenty of bodies though and barring a last-minute change of heart on Finley, one of those bodies is going to be the guy.
Here’s a look at what is probably the most wide-open competition in training camp this year.
Quarless will enter training camp as the default No. 1 because that’s where he finished last season. He’s going to have to pick up his game to remain in that position though. In his fourth season, Quarless turned in his best season — 32 catches, 312 yards and two touchdowns. That’s not really a stat line to get excited about.
Still, the Packers thought enough of Quarless to give him a two-year, $3 million deal when he became a free agent this offseason. Of that, $350,000 is guaranteed. That’s valuable backup money is what that is.
Nonetheless, Quarless has the best shot of opening the season as the top guy simply because he’s done it before.
Bostick got his first action with the Packers last season. A wide receiver in college, he sat on the practice squad for a year before making the jump to the big boy’s club. Bostick didn’t see much action on offense until late in the season, but when he did he flashed some ability as a legit playmaker. Then, of course, he got injured in week 15 and didn’t play again.
Had Bostick been able to finish the season, this conversation might be a whole lot different. His story could have been one similar to DuJuan Harris’ in 2012. Came out of nowhere to prove himself a potential big-time contributor down the stretch. Unfortunately, we only got a small sample of what Bostick can do. He finished the season with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. The problem with Bostick has always been his blocking. He hasn’t done much of it, so he doesn’t do it very well.
If that changes, then the Packers have another weapon on their hands.
We’re well aware that pretty much everyone wants to anoint Rodgers as the guy. The third-round pick made all kinds of plays during minicamp and OTAs. Well, we’ve got news for you. Things usually change quickly when the pads actually go on. On top of that, it’s rare for rookie tight ends to make much of an impact. JMike only had six catches for 74 yards in his rookie season.
The reason? Couldn’t block. Therefore, he couldn’t get on the field. Rodgers, who played wide receiver in college last year, is going to face the same hurdle.
In three seasons with the Packers, Taylor has a total of eight receptions for 45 yards. Are those numbers going to dramatically change this year? No. Taylor was drafted because of his special teams play. He’s hung around because of his special teams play. He’ll probably hang around again for the same reason, but he doesn’t have the tools to make a big impact on the offense.
This guy has a great name. Unfortunately, he went to Ohio State, so he can suck a dick. Stoneburner was an undrafted free agent last year. He started the season on the practice squad and was eventually brought up to the big club after guys started to drop like flies. Stoneburner was a contributor on special teams, but didn’t catch any passes.
He faces an uphill battle to make the roster this season, much like he did last season.
Well, Lyerla is definitely the most interesting guy in the group. His troubles are well documented — multiple suspensions, drugs, left his college team, shitty upbringing, etc. He didn’t get drafted and had to make the Packers training camp roster through a tryout. What’s so intriguing is that Lyerla has all of the physical tools. If he hadn’t of fucked up so badly last year, he would have been one of the top tight ends in this year’s draft.
If Lyerla can keep his head on straight, he has a real chance of making the roster. We don’t expect him to have a shot at being a starter this year and neither should you, but he’s got plenty of upside. And who knows what can happen if he begins to tap his potential.
If the Packers finally decide to re-sign Finley, then he wins. If that doesn’t happen then we like Quarless to be the opening day starter.
The reason is simple. He’s not the most talented guy, but he’s a veteran and he’s assignment-sure. Priority No. 1 this season is not to get Aaron Rodgers killed. Out of these guys, Quarless is the best man for that job.
That being said, we fully expect Quarless’ playing time to erode as the season goes on. Bostick just brings more to the table in the passing game. This should be the season that he gets his shot.
After those two guys, we like Rodgers and Taylor for roster spots. Lyerla is going to have to show something to make the team, but we will be pulling for him.
I think Ryan Taylor is gone this year and the Packers keep Lyerla. Why? Because he was actually a pretty decent ST player at Oregon his Freshman season, 8 tackles, 7 unassisted. I also wouldn’t rule out Lyerla catching a few seam passes down the middle for big gains this season. He’s the most athletic TE the Packers have on the roster, just have to have the head follow the body.
Seriously, are you 10 years old?(talking about the writer).
Making that remark about Stoneburner just because he came from Ohio State.
Stoneburner has an uphill battle, but he does have 1 year experience on Rodgers and Lyerla.
What happens if Stoneburner surprises everyone and makes that huge jump from year 1 to year 2 that is expected by most players in Green bay?
Do you still tell him to go “suck a dick” and get rid of him because he came from Ohio State?
This isn’t High School!!!!!
Quarless(if healthy), Bostick, Taylor, Rodgers and Stoneburner all make the final 53.
Lyerla will be stashed on the PS, nobody but Ted would give him a chance, he will be safe.
Fully expect Bostic and Rodgers to take playing time away from Quarless and Taylor by the end of the season.
They better not try and put Lyerla on the practice squad, he will get taken up. For groupthink crap like that, all it takes is on person to break the mold.
I am really pulling for the guy, and I think he could mature into of the best tight ends in the league.
if we keep 3 QBs on the 53, it will probably mean 1 less TE.
I don’t understand people. I am a finley fan, and i seem to be the only one cuz you all are so sensitive over things that he had said that you would rather choose to not have all his talent on the team. Its ridiculous. And now, its boggling my mind that you are all hoping lyerla makes the team. I hope he makes it too but if you couldn’t handle finley’s act, how in the hell are you going to put up with someone who will be much worse than finley ever was. It seems a lot of packer fans think backwards.
Now that camp is underway, it’s Bostic, Rodgers, and Taylor making impressions thus far, and in that order. Barring injuries, I think that’s our depth chart for 2014, with Quarless at 4 and either Lyerla (now injured and MM not impressed with how that happened) or Stoneburner at 5. I think they keep 4 TEs for sure, possibly 5. Bostic needs to keep his weight under control and learn to block. Rodgers needs to build lower body and learn to block. Whoever can be the best 3 down player will get the start as the Packers want to speed up the offense. If Finley does come back (and that’s a big if considering the injury and the money he wants), he’s still the starter. And the comment about Stoneburner by the author was very childish.