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Best & Worst Case Scenarios For The Tight Ends

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Best & Worst Case Scenarios For The Tight Ends

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 ...

Jermichael Finley

  • 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.

Donald Lee

  • 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.

Spencer Havner

  • 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.

Andrew Quarless

  • 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.

Tom Crabtree

  • 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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Morli's picture

Good stuff.
just two things:
a.) We should not overemphasize on Finley's stats, i mean, it would be pretty awesome if he puts up 1000 receiving yards or so, but more importantly for the team and for him, he should become a much better blocker to even become more dangerous and erreatic.
b.) the worst case scenario for Lee seems a bit negetive, he should be, barring injuries, at least be a more than serviceable special teams player. Something, especially considering our occasional special teams meltdowns, worth having.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Best case = The HOF throws out the mandatory 5 year wait after retirement and just gives 88 the jacket mid-season.

Worst case = There is no worst case with 88 on the roster.


greenbowlpackerbacker's picture

Tight end competition sould be interesting... Predictions? I'll say Lee gets cut, Quarless shows to much potential and enough maturity to make the team.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I got a nug of the Northwest's finest says Lee doesn't get cut.

NyPacker's picture

Finley's worst case scenario may be even, how can I say it.... worse. His knee injury has been plaguing him ever since his days at Texas U. You can't help but wonder if TT knows something about Finley that we don't, much like the Johnny Jolly situation. Here's to hoping that I'm wrong, but Finley staying healthy for an entire season is an uncertainty but certainly attainable.

Oppy's picture

TT most definitely DOES know something about Finley that caused him to take a potential J-Mike clone like Quarless in this year's draft- but I don't think it's his knee.

It's just insurance. Finley is going to be a freakin' star in the NFL. When his contract is up, it's entirely possible that the Packers won't be able to keep him here. There's no reason to believe Finley is "Packers People" to the point he'll take less money to stay in GB rather than take stupid money to go elsewhere, and the Packers won't grossly overpay just because there's a bidding war.

If Finley DOES stay- let's say he gets locked up long term and never goes into FA (Unlikely, IMO, but let's hope), and Quarless DOES turn out to be a Finley-like threat, the Packers have got great trade bait with Quarless if they have other needs to address, and if they keep him they've got an ridiculous, perhaps never before seen type threat in two TE sets that takes a prolific offense to becoming perhaps a historic and legendary offense.

ACDC84's picture

TT has shown that he takes care of his own guys before they get are able to taste FA, and I'm sure he will do the same for Finley. And I give Finley enough credit to realize that staying in GB with a young, elite QB is the best way for him to cement himself as an elite TE in this league for years to come.

The author's assessment of best-case for Quarless seems too low. Now I sure don't count on Quarless to contribute much of anything this year, but would it shock me if he gets onto the field a decent amount in the second half of the season and catches 20 balls? No, it's not out of the question.

Oppy's picture


I have no doubts that TT will attempt to lock Finley in long term before he hits FA.

I have serious doubts as to Finley accepting a contract until he sees what he can get in the open market. Jermichael does not strike me as a Greg Jennings type guy. He strikes me as a me-first type who will love to see who wants to pay the most for his services- and TT will pay a good, fair wage, but he won't pay more than the top price they assess a a player is worth- regardless of what other offers come in the door. No bidding wars.

Hope I'm wrong and Finley actually gives a hoot about being a Packer and playing with his current teammates long term, but his attitude reeks of "Me, Me, Me".

aussiepacker's picture

I think Lee would be picked up by another team straight away if he is cut so if TT can't trade him during camp do you think he keeps him on the 53 and hopes to be able to trade him during the season when other teams get injuries at TE?

Tarynfor12's picture

Lee has been a true Packer but he needs to see the writing on the wall and he should be asking for a trade to a team where he may be the #2 or #3 guy.
A sad thing,but as the players say themselves"it's business" and nothing personal.The talent that comes out every year is creating the end of the 8-12 year vets on a team and cutting it 6-9 and some positions less.
I hope TT can work with Lee for what is best for both and move on as all things must do. Good luck Donald Lee is has been nice!

FITZCORE1252's picture

"should be asking for a trade to a team where he may be the #2 or #3 guy."

He's our #2 and nobody is close to taking that spot from him.


Tarynfor12's picture

Finley,Havner and Quarless.Lee gets traded for sure.

CSS's picture

If Lee can't crack the Packer's number #2 or #3 on the depth chart then he has 'zero' trade value. I doubt Hayvner makes the squad and Quarless will look like a rookie in training camp.

You know what you must do first and foremost in this offense to crack the depth chart? Block. Hayvner isn't even close and Quarless simply can't do it on a professional level yet. Outsidef of a complete physical breakdown Lee will emerge as the clear-cut #2. Quarless is a work in progress likely 2-3 years to develop, nothing more.

DAWG's picture

Lee already see's the writing on the wall, said he would do anything to stick.
All depends on who's more worthy on ST.

Tarynfor12's picture

There are two times in a players career that those words are spoken.First is when he is young and wants to make a team,and second when he's older and trying to stay on a team.
The later of the two is the more desperate and the less likely to succeed.

andrew's picture

this isnt really a contest.. but 5 spots for TEs is a lot.. i think you gotta keep crabtree tho.. because TEs still gotta block.. thats what donald lee is a solid blocker.. and he is about ready to be done in a few years.. gotta find a good blocker to replace him... havner is the man in the red zone and a special teams player Finley is a beast.. and Quarles has potential. it is such a killer on the roster to have so many spots to the TEs tho

marcopo's picture

No way Finley has a downside, absent injury. It's simply a no win-no win for defensive coordinators. Rodgers growing confidence that he'll beat his man is apparent. For good reason. He does.

marcopo's picture

Much has been said of Finley's immaturity. He's come a long way. His dedication and desire to be the NFL's best tight end are evident in his coach's comments and his voluntary participation in Fitgerald's camp.

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