Was Andrew Quarless a Big Disappointment for the Packers?

There seems to be a sea of sentiment floating amongst those who follow the Packers that Andrew Quarless was a disappointment in his rookie season. To those who say that I ask, what exactly were your expectations?

We are talking about a kid that was only 21 years old when the season started. He was a fifth round draft pick on a team that already had four tight ends. It would have been perfectly reasonable to expect Quarless to land on the practice squad.

Instead, the Packers cut the all-purpose Spencer Havner, a key special teams contributor, to keep Quarless on the roster. As the low man on the tight end totem pole, Quarless was slated to see mostly special teams action, much like Jermichael Finley did during his rookie season.

So how can you call a season where Quarless had more snaps than any other Packers tight end a disappointment? No doubt, he had some drops in key moments, especially in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl. But what does it say that the Packers’ coaches and Aaron Rodgers were comfortable going to Quarless in big spots in those games?

Not to pick on Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette, but I’m going to use something from one of his recent articles because it’s pretty representative of what I’ve been reading;

“… the addition of two tight ends could be because of Quarless’ slow development. He had almost no impact as a rookie and worse, made repeated mental mistakes.”

First let’s take the “repeated mental mistakes.” I need some clarification on that. Is that something Rob has noticed? Something he was told by a coach?  Without knowledge of Quarless’ assignments nor the time to sit and grade Quarless, I can’t really agree or disagree with that assertion. So let’s move to the other part of Rob’s statement, “He had almost no impact as a rookie.” Now this I can talk about.

According to Pro Football Focus, Andrew Quarless took 518 snaps for the Packers last season. Tom Crabtree took 395 and Donald Lee 300.

Jermichael Finley saw only 97 snaps in 2008, when he was a 21 year old rookie on a 6-10 Packers team. Finley didn’t have a pass thrown to him until game nine of that season and finished with 6 catches and a 12.3 ypc average. Quarless finished 2010 with 21 catches (over 4 more games) and a 11.3 ypc average.