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Best & Worst Case Scenarios: 2013 Packers Tight Ends

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Best & Worst Case Scenarios: 2013 Packers Tight Ends

Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless. Photo by Corey Behnke of

It's time for the seventh annual "Best & Worst Case Scenario" series, a feature that goes back to the days of the old domain.

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.

As one final note, I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not necessarily what's best (or worst) for the team.

Jermichael Finley

Best-case scenario: In his sixth season in the NFL, Finley finally puts it all together. He's been a good tight end in the past, but never an elite one. Until now. Spurred by his impending free agency, Finley plays with an urgency and sets career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. While a deep receiving corps takes away some of his targets, Finley still finishes among league leaders at his position and is invited to the first Pro Bowl of his career. Packers fans will be delighted to hear the drops occur only sparingly and he's not nearly as outspoken as he used to be either.

Worst-case scenario: It's par for the course for Finley in 2013. He's good, but not great. His drops draw the ire of fans everywhere. And the speak-before-you-think act returns. Finley has somewhere in the realm of 50 receptions for more than 500 yards and a handful of touchdowns, but compared to other starting tight ends in the NFL, he's lucky to be among the top 10. His production doesn't justify his salary of over $8 million. Finley's days in Green Bay would appear to be numbered.

Andrew Quarless

Best-case scenario: Above all, Quarless appears to have put a gruesome knee injury suffered two seasons ago behind him. When he goes out on the field, he doesn't have to think about his injury, and that allows the game to come to him naturally. He's not a dominating player, but he's probably the best combination of blocker and receiver on the team. He finished the year hovering around 20 receptions for 200-plus yards and a couple touchdowns, a terrific accomplishment considering the adversity he's had to overcome.

Worst-case scenario: Try as he might, Quarless just can't get over the hump. The knee injury has sapped him of any speed he had as a younger player in the NFL and he just can't anchor like he used to. It isn't because of effort that Quarless is cut, but the Packers decide to part ways, figuring they're better off with the other tight ends on the roster backing up Finley.

Matthew Mulligan

Best-case scenario: The number of receptions Mulligan grabs doesn't even reach double-digits, but that doesn't begin to describe his contributions to the team. He's the best in-line blocker among the tight ends, and he's a big reason for the resurgence of the running game. Whenever the Packers need push from the tight end position in the ground game, it's not Finley or Quarless on the field, it's Mulligan. Combined with his special teams play, he proves his worth.

Worst-case scenario: Mulligan's impact on the running game is overstated. He's a good blocker, but not a dominating blocker. And for as much as the Packers pass the football, they need someone with more speed that can stretch the field. He makes the 53-man roster, but his contributions to the Packers' success are modest and his number of catches can be counted on one hand.

D.J. Williams

Best-case scenario: In a make it or break it year for Williams, he finally makes it. He's not a Pro Bowl caliber player by any means, but he manages to see the most playing time of any tight end on the roster outside of Finley. He finishes the year with 25-plus receptions in excess of 300 yards and handful of touchdowns. Best of all, he gains the trust of Aaron Rodgers and becomes a legitimate cog in the Pakers passing-game mechanism.

Worst-case scenario: Once again, Williams does a solid job during training camp, but it's just not enough to justify his spot on the 53-man roster. The Packers eventually cut their losses when they realize Williams is what he is. He's an undersized tight end that has some good mobility, but just not enough for anything more than spot duty at the NFL level. He's cut at the end of training camp.

Ryan Taylor

Best-case scenario: With the absence of either Quarless or Williams on the roster, Taylor takes a step up the depth chart and makes his biggest impact yet. His primary responsibilities still lie on special teams, but Taylor also sees more playing time on offense than ever before. He only catches a dozen or so passes, but he's versatile as he can line up in the backfield as well as in-line.

Worst-case scenario: Special teams acumen can only carry Taylor so far. He's a good guy and a try-hard type of player, but he just doesn't have the natural talent of some of the other tight ends on the roster. The Packers cut him on the final cutdown date.

Brandon Bostick

Best-case scenario: Outside of Finley, Bostick is the best receiving threat among the tight end group in Green Bay. He's still raw and has a lot to prove, but because he's such a threat in the passing game, the Packers find a way to utilize his skill set. He's kept on the team at the expense of some of the other tight ends, but Bostick justifies the team's decision by catching 20-some passes in the regular season.

Worst-case scenario: There's just not room for Bostick in Green Bay. He's not as good a receiver as Finley, and he's definitely not as adept at blocking as Mulligan. When it looks like Jake Stoneburner is the better young tight end worth developing, Bostick is a training camp casualty.

Jake Stoneburner

Best-case scenario: As an undrafted rookie, Stoneburner flies under the radar, but to his credit, he gains notice little by little over the course of training camp. Things start slowly, but he gains momentum by making a few nice grabs in the preseason and proves to the coaching staff that he's worth keeping around. There's not room for him on the 53-man roster, but he's extended an invitation to the practice squad.

Worst-case scenario: There's seven tight ends in Packers training camp, and unfortunately for Stoneburner, he's clearly at the bottom of the heap. With so many other tight ends ahead of him on the roster, he doesn't get many opportunities, and when he does, he doesn't do much with them. He's let go on the first roster cutdown to 75 players on Aug. 27.

Previous Best & Worst Case Scenario Entries

Quarterbacks July 29

Running backs July 30

Wide receivers July 31

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Cuphound's picture

I love when Brian talks about Finley. You hear the sound of the placid ice crack just a little...

hayward4president's picture

I can't believe Stoneburner is not likely to make the 53 in such a pass happy offense.

Stroh's picture

Who's Stoneburner gonna beat out? Finley, hell no! Quarless, nope. Mulligan, best blocking TE in GB since Ed West. IMO, he might be able to beat out DJ Williams, but he might not make the team. Taylor is a ST demon who isn't going anywhere. If 4 make it, Stoneburner isn't going to be one of them. If 5 make it, he has to beat out Williams AND Bostic, and that's tenuous at best.

nick perry's picture

I like D.J. Williams. Every year I hear he's catching everything in sight, not just on Packers websites, but from guys like Rich Gannon who covers the Packers in the preseason and is on XM Radio. Best case scenario for Williams: The Packers finally use Williams, throw him the damn ball, put him in positions to succeed. M.M. is supposed to be a offensive genius right? Well use Williams and the strengths he does bring to the team. Worst case Scenario for Williams AND the Packers: He's released, picked up by New England who use him in their two TE sets and he catches 70 balls for 900 yards and 7 TD's. Damn, use him to replace Kuhn and cut Kuhn. Love Kuhn, hate what he does on 3rd and 1. It becomes 4th and 2 more often than not. I just don't see what Kuhn brings to the table anymore and if your telling me the Packers can't use Green for example, or one of the TE to do what he does then they lack the coaching at RB & and TE position . If you can't tell, I'm a huge D.J. Williams fan.

Stroh's picture

There used to be a lot to like about Williams, but he's become maddening! He's a classic case of a training camp phenom who can't translate his game to the regular season. He has to earn opportunities to get in games and then when in the game he's got to take advantage of the opportunity. He just doesn't. Shows great when it means little and then disappears when he needs to produce on the field. I'm about done w/ him. Time to cut loses IMO.

Skippy's picture

DJ is only 24 years old and only entering his 3rd season this year. It's way too early to cut ties. He may only need more real opportunities.

Drealyn Williams's picture

I use DJ as an H-Back on Madden '13 if that means anything =)

nick perry's picture


Stroh's picture

He better step it up then! Cuz right now I would say he's a fringe roster player. Lucky to make the team from one year to the next. I know he's young and could still improve, but he has yet to do anything to indicate he'll be much better. And his yearly training camp highlites and regular season lowlites are wearing thin. He's got to put up or shut up this year! If he doesn't step up on the field he's done IMO.

JakeK's picture

Absolutely ridiculous... You don't have a clue .... Quit pretending you do.

Attended a GB practice or game lately? ... Special video? ... Inside info?

Nothing more than hot air, as usual.

Stroh's picture

Jake I read... You should try it! Not just blogs or "your special forums" either. I mean real journalism by the guys that cover the Packers. I live in Scottsdale AZ now, so unfortunately I don't get to see training camp practices anymore. I was born and raised in GB and as a kid I used to lend my bike to the players almost daily.

nick perry's picture

I'd bet they keep D.J. Williams over Taylor, Special Teams demon or not.

Stroh's picture

Nick... I think you underestimate the importance the Packers place on ST. For backups, the deciding factor on who gets the final roster spots is generally decided by who contributes on ST the most. We'll see, but that far down the depth chart I would lean towards Taylor.

nick perry's picture

I'm curious, when has he blown it so? I remember 2 seasons ago he missed a blocked, dropped a ball, something happened where he received that stare from Rodgers coming off the field and was put in the doghouse for the rest of the season it seemed. On XM-Radio I hear Rich Gannon gush about Williams. Perhaps if Williams screws up on a play, they should go right back to him. I mean they've done it since 2011 when he came back from injury for Finley. Finley is maddening, Williams just needs some time on the field. He's on the field for running plays and doing pretty well. Just throw him the damn ball more than once every 3 games!

Stroh's picture

Yeah all the National media types gush about Williams the former Mackey award winner. I'd be curious the last time they watched close enough to Packers training camp and pre season games to really know. Williams is a "name" due to winning the Mackey so they latch on to something to talk about.

Read the Packers beat writers. I've read multiple times that Williams looks great in practice, but plays poorly in games. Seen dropped passes, missed blocks, etc... If he wants to make the roster again this year, he better step in up and start playing like the Mackey Award winner he Used to be.

nick perry's picture

Gannon is normally pretty accurate and does all the Packers Preseason games I believe. He must know a little something. That and he actually played football in the NFL. "The Beat Writers", are the ones I heard a lot of good things from. To early this year but I highly doubt because he won the Mackey Award is why he's gushed over. Unless of coarse we're talking about Tim Tebow and that douche bag Skip Bayless.

Stroh's picture

Nothing against Gannon and I don't know how much, if at all that he actually covers or pays attention to the Packers. Williams makes splash plays in practice, Gannon hears about it, and gushes over a former Mackey Award winner. That kinda thing happens a lot especially in the pre-season.

JakeK's picture

Of course you're right, NP. ... Some fans make decisions about players because of other players at the same position. (Those man crushes again) ... I agree, give DJ some actual chances and I think he may succeed for years to come ... He's young and with no baggage.

Al Fresco's picture

I wonder why the team has a fullback. Seems the position is just lost these days with tight ends and multiple backs coming out of the backfield. I see a Kuhn being let go and not replaced by a full back.

Wagszilla's picture


#quarless2013 #TeamQuarless

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