No Davante Adams, no Allen Lazard, no problem.
Everyone wondered who would have the breakout game for the Packers and it turned out to be none other than tight end Robert “Big Bob” Tonyan. Tonyan caught six passes on six targets for 98 yards and three touchdowns. It was arguably the best game by a Packers tight end since the heyday of Jermichael Finley.
Entering training camp Tonyan was TE2 behind Jace Sternberger but as camp went on it was becoming clearer that Tonyan was going to emerge on top of the depth chart and he’s now solidly the starter.
Aaron Rodgers clearly trusts him as evidenced by his five touchdowns thus far this season and overall he’s caught 13 passes on 14 targets. It doesn’t get any better than that for a quarterback who craves dependability in his pass catchers.
Opponents are beginning to take notice too. Last night Atlanta was so wary of Tonyan that they double teamed him in the red zone last night leaving Aaron Jones (yes THAT Aaron Jones) wide open for an easy touchdown.
If Tonyan can keep this up, he’s going to draw more attention and thus opening up Jones, Adams and Lazard (when he returns) for more plays. For a team that had “no weapons” according to many entering the year, suddenly options seem to be popping up out of nowhere for Matt LaFleur.
“Big Bob” has been a big part of it.
There’s more on Tonyan’s big night plus Za’Darius Smith strikes back in today’s curds.
Tonyan spent time training with George Kittle during the offseason and it has been paying huge dividends. LaFleur knew he needed his own version of Kittle to make his offense go and little did he know he already had him on his roster when he arrived last year. This isn’t to say Tonyan is on Kittle’s level yet (he isn’t of course) but the potential is tantalizing.
Adams was obviously disappointed he couldn’t play last night but what happened with Falcons receiver Julio Jones showed the Packers made the right call. Jones has also been nursing a hamstring injury and didn’t even make it through the first half.
The Packers pass rush has not been quite as productive as it was last year but Smith roared to life last night with three sacks and is now tied for the league lead. Welcome to the second coming of the age of Za’Darius.
Do you wake up every morning thankful Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of your football team? Weird, me too!
The 2010 Packers (who at last check won the Super Bowl that year) got two coaches fired in the regular season with Wade Phillips and Brad Childress. Could they claim their first victim in Atlanta’s Dan Quinn? After Houston fired Bill O’Brien yesterday, it’s not impossible.