Welcome to the fourth annual best and worst case scenarios for every player on the Green Bay Packers roster.
I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition. Think Charles Woodson last year.
I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not what’s best for the team. For example, parting ways with Justin Harrell may eventually be what’s in the best interest of the Packers. I’m more interested in looking at what’s in Justin Harrell’s best interests (or worst interests for that matter).
Yesterday we looked at the wide receivers. Today we're onto the tight ends ...
- Best-case scenario: Finley puts up sick numbers for a tight end. We're talking filthy. How does 75 receptions for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns sound? You almost feel bad for opposing defenses and other tight ends in the league that are left in his wake. As long as Finley's healthy for an entire season, there no reason he won't easily eclipse last season's production that saw over 50 catches for over 600 yards and five touchdowns. He becomes Aaron Rodgers' safety valve. Who's getting the ball on third down? Finley. Who's the red zone target? Finley. Who's the surprise 1st-and-10 deep threat down the seam? Finley. With a season like that, Finley earns first-team All-Pro honors.
- Worst-case scenario: With so many talented receivers around him, Finley is forced to share the wealth. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley are pretty much indistinguishable from a statistical standpoint. They spread the ball around so much, all of them have somewhere between 60 and 80 catches, 700 to 1,000 yards, and five or so touchdowns. The thing hurting Finley the most is that he's taken off the field in favor of better blockers when it comes to the running game.
- Best-case scenario: Lee becomes Mr. Reliable once again. He gets push as a run blocker, he helps protect the quarterback's blind side and he's a solid but not spectacular receiver. He loses the label as a guy that drops passes, and he improves after the catch getting more yards. He adds a couple of touchdown receptions and he's a vital cog in the offense even if he doesn't have the most gaudy statistics. He also has his biggest role on special teams to date.
- Worst-case scenario: Lee seemingly falls off the face of the planet. He can't catch the ball consistently, the fullbacks are better options as blockers, and forget about "YAC" when it comes to Lee. Plus, he's way too slow to play on special teams. He doesn't offer anything Jermichael Finley and Spencer Havner can't offer. Thus, he's cut loose when the Packers decide to keep rookie Andrew Quarless ahead of him.
- Best-case scenario: He continues to be the same red zone target that he was a year ago, but increases his overall receptions two-fold. His four touchdowns are pretty much par for the course, but he has somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 total catches as the Packers aren't afraid to utilize him as a receiver on third-and-short at mid-field. Havner is also an integral part of what the Packers do on special teams and becomes even more valuable to the team as a whole.
- Worst-case scenario: Due to a variety of factors, Havner is let go. His offseason incident for alleged drunk hurt his chances on a team looking for a cleaner image and injuring his shoulder in the process didn't help matters. But really, he's a worse blocker than Donald Lee and a worse receiver than Andrew Quarless and that's what the decision comes down to.
- Best-case scenario: Think of Jermichael Finley in his rookie season: ultra-talented but ultra-raw as well. And like Finley, he shows enough potential to develop and can finally be trusted late in the season. The coaching staff designs a handful of plays specifically to get the ball in his hands. He's on the 53-man roster all year long, has around 10 receptions and has people believing he's on the verge of bigger and better things in years to come.
- Worst-case scenario: Drafting Quarless in the fifth round was a mistake. He can't be trusted to do anything on the football field. He's inconsistent, he's not assignment sure, he can't block worth a lick and generally can't be trusted. On top of it all, he's immature. Like Jamon Meredith last year, the Packers cut Quarless before he even plays a down in the regular season. He's not even worth keeping on the practice squad. He might resurface somewhere in the NFL and be a good player, but truth be told, the Packers did him a favor by giving him a wake-up call. But they'll never get credit for doing that.
- Best-case scenario: Crabtree probably deserves to be on the 53-man roster, but gets cut instead. He's an all-around good tight end that's solid in every phase of the game, including special teams. But the Packers know they can afford to cut him and still stash him on the practice squad. If he's lucky, he might get signed to the 53-man roster at some point during the regular season when injuries crop up on the team.
- Worst-case scenario: Crabtree is nothing more than a training camp body. He does everything that's asked of him, but he just doesn't have the same talent as the four guys ahead of him on the depth chart. He works hard but is ultimately cut when teams are mandated to trim their roster to 75 players by Aug. 31.
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