Robert Tonyan's return will be key for Packers offense

With news coming out that Robert Tonyan is aiming to be ready for the season-opener, I'm excited to see him return to the Packers offense in 2022.

Robert Tonyan was recorded on video running with a football at the side of practice at Tight End U last week.

After a breakout season in 2020, the Packers tight end was just looking to catch his stride in 2021 before tearing his ACL during the Week 8 Thursday Night Football matchup at Arizona.

The injury was a gut punch not only to the Packers offense, but even more so to Tonyan himself. In the middle of a contract season, the injury delayed a payday -- and forced Tonyan to take a one-year prove-it deal worth only $3.75 million.

If you remember, Tonyan had a noticeably slower start to the 2021 season. Through the first six games of the year, Tonyan had accumulated just 92 yards and one touchdown on 11 catches.

But the late-bloomer from Indiana State finally started to get things going in Week 7 and 8, catching seven passes for 112 yards and a score before the injury against the Cardinals.

While the tight end position is one that many Packers fans have questions about, I still feel strongly about where the position is at headed into 2022.

I feel that way for two reasons. The first is due to the veteran presence of Marcedes Lewis. The 38-year-old has been a monster in the trenches, especially during the back half of his career. "Big Dog" quickly became a leader and a locker room favorite after signing with the Packers in 2018.

The second reason I believe in the tight end unit? Robert Tonyan.

David Lombardi, who recorded the video of Tonyan running last week, also reported that the plan for the tight end is to be ready for the season-opener. And if we know anything about Tonyan, it's that he's always one of the hardest workers in the room. He'll do everything in his power to make sure he can play as soon as possible this fall.

A healthy Tonyan contributes to the passing attack almost right away. In 2020, he was a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers, catching 52 passes for 586 yards and leading all tight ends with 11 touchdowns.

Without Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams (and with a host of pass-catchers who haven't played with Rodgers yet), expect a healthy Tonyan to be one of the first options 12 will turn to come fall.

I'm excited to see him return to a Packers offense that's desperate for threats at the pass-catcher position.  And as long as he stays healthy, he'll be a viable option for Rodgers in 2022.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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Comments (17)

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 29, 2022 at 01:41 pm

"Robert Tonyan was recorded on video running with a football"

So, if he was running WITHOUT a football, it would be more unlikely that he'd be ready for opening week and wouldn't be the key to the Offense?

Incredible that the article is based on the point that Tonyan was able to run and hold a football at the same time. I think it's safe to assume that he aced the walk and gum chewing part.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 29, 2022 at 01:45 pm

That’s a tad harsh from you. After knee surgery, running is the most important clue to improvement from surgery. But I do agree that he probably still has a ways to go.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 29, 2022 at 04:24 pm

I said nothing about what it takes to recover from his injury. I bet you miss a lot of appointments because you miss the point about it being a scheduled appointment.

The point was, 'What did his having a football in his hands have to do with his ability to run. It was a ridiculous, over-exploitation of him running, as though without the football he wouldn't have been able to run. The ridiculousness of the sentence is what I speak to and you see nothing, but the opportunity to downvote/ speak against that which you are too ignorant to accept.

Explain to me the need or reason for the ball being in his hands when running as an opening line. Wait, to get him used to holding it again, as if he hasn't touched or seen one since his injury. Please say that is not the answer.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 29, 2022 at 04:27 pm

It's exactly on point from them. Bitching about nothing is Taryns gig.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 29, 2022 at 06:48 pm

I wonder if you realize that if it wasn't for me, many of the articles would have stagnant comments that represent nothing but back-slapping droids agreeing with each other simply because they're expected to, or it's easier than trying to offer legit counters, which is not the near copy/paste of the other, or simple name-calling, which appears your specialty. Open your mind and try to see things how they are and not only the fantasy. I promise the victory of achieving the real Goal will be more satifying than that of the fantasy expectations that result in, nothing.

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dblbogey's picture

June 29, 2022 at 07:54 pm

You're a legend in your own mind.

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dblbogey's picture

June 29, 2022 at 07:50 pm

Taryns having a bad day. That's 6000 in a row.

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dblbogey's picture

June 29, 2022 at 07:52 pm

Duplicate post

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 30, 2022 at 09:12 am

Going a little overboard today about a simple description of what was seen on video. You’re the one that took it further as if caring the football was a huge point of the article, or as if that proved he was more ready for actual football then just plain running. The author did not say that, nor did they suggest it. Perhaps you should start your own blog so that you could write all of your observations and perspectives. There is literally nothing to write about this time of year, and I don’t believe these authors are even paid for their work. So you use the word ridiculous. Isn’t it possibly a little bit ridiculous to be this picky and demeaning about such a simple statement? It as if you’re so angry and your heart is so broken by an ex lover, that you pour out anger at every reference to the ex. Only in this case your ex that broke your heart is the Packers squad in the NFC championship. So any positive reference has to be countered.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 29, 2022 at 01:42 pm

He may not be a top NFL TE but Bobby is pretty good. And pretty good is OK. Over the years he has steadily improved. I think that he will be called upon a lot more this year when he is available. Let’s hope that it’s sooner than later.

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Lphill's picture

June 29, 2022 at 03:57 pm

I remember the reports how far along Bachteri was with rehab yet look what happened with him , I hope it’s not the case here .

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Leatherhead's picture

June 29, 2022 at 09:12 pm

I agree with what the main point is ( I think). I like the TE unit with Tonyan. Last year, he had over 300 snaps in 8 games; Deguara had less than 400 in the entire season. If Tonyan is healthy, he’ll be on the field a lot .

Gunnar points to a slow start for Tonyan last season. Let me rewrite that: Prior to Tonyan getting injured, the Packer had been 6-0;since the opener, and had averaged 27 ppg. The offense was rolling and Tonyan was helping.

In theory, one of these days we’ll line up two pretty good TEs and neither one will be Lewis.

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LambeauPlain's picture

June 29, 2022 at 09:30 pm

Big Bob and Deguara will be a nice tandem for the move TE with Big Dog playing in 12 personnel.

And given the pass catching abilities of AJ and AJD, I can see Matt even dialing up some 22 personnel with Watkin or Watson on the perimeter to take the top off.

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Carpy's picture

June 30, 2022 at 11:47 am

It was a punch in the gut to the team having lost Tonyan last year. I was concerned about him prior to his injury, but maybe not as much about him as I was the team's inability or unwillingness to utilize him effectively. Anyway, if he's truly able to start the 2022 season on the active roster, even if he needs time to ramp up, that will bode very well for the offense. And it's got to help motivate one's teammates when they see a guy working so hard to return from a serious injury! Go Pack!

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T7Steve's picture

June 30, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Don't forget that he had to help with blocking while the new line was getting it's legs

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T7Steve's picture

June 30, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Don't forget that he had to help with blocking while the new line was getting it's legs

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 03, 2022 at 09:36 am

I have maintained since 2018 that Tonyan is one hell of a player (yes, even when Tonyan was on the bench behind Graham, which is one of the reasons making me realize MM needed to go) and he has always been underutilized. Rodgers hates throwing the ball down the center of the field because of the potential of interceptions. To truly open up the Packers offense I really think Rodgers needs to utilize Tonyan & the TE's more. Open up the whole field!

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