GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a look at 10 returning members of the Green Bay Packers who need to take their game to another level this season.
First up is tight end Andrew Quarless
Why he needs to step up: Entering the second season of a two-year, $3 million deal, the sixth-year veteran is still looking for that breakout. He had his moments last season -- the game-winning touchdown catch in the final seconds at Miami, for example -- but the body of work could be better. He caught just 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns despite playing in all 16 regular-season games. He added a touchdown catch in the divisional playoff game against the Cowboys but was shut out in 27 snaps in the NFC title game against the Seahawks.
What he has to do: Quarless has said several times that he believes he can make the kind of impact that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski does. That's far-fetched, considering last season he had only one game with more than three catches. However, if he can consistently come up with three or four catches per game and a half-dozen touchdowns over the course of the season, it would add to an already potent offense and force defenses to commit more coverage to the tight end spot.
Outlook: Quarless and second-year pro Richard Rodgers are in competition for the starting job. Regardless of who wins the job, both will play. Last year, Quarless played 695 snaps, while Rodgers had 528. It wouldn't be a surprise if those numbers are reversed this year.
Quotable: "I think Andrew's had a great camp," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said during minicamp last month. "He really made some jumps last year. Not enough targets for him, but I think if he keeps playing the way that he's playing right now -- he's playing very fast, he's really been detailing his routes and he's been one of the top guys that's showed out in the offseason program."