Mike Roemer/Associated Press A mea culpa is necessary after the Green Bay Packers’30-16 dismantling of the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The concept of the Packers not making a substantial investment in the wide receiver position at any point throughout the offseason was beaten into the ground for months. Many, including myself, could not understand the rationalization of passing on the position throughout complimentary agency and in a historical draft class when Davante Adams plainly required help.
Yet the Packers are getting the ultimate victory because they had weapons all along, even if they weren’t always easily evident.
Now, Green Bay features an elite running back, quality backfield depth, an emerging star at tight end and perhaps the best offending line in expert football. A mix of those performers, plus Aaron Rodgers managing Matt LaFleur’s offense like John Williams building a legendary movie soundtrack, has the Packers slaughtering challengers throughout the group’s 4-0 start.
The scenario did look somewhat bleak a few hours before kickoff. Adams, who is nursing a hamstring injury, tweeted he would not play while insinuating group medical professionals were being too mindful prior to deleting the remark, per Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper. With Allen Lazard and Equanimeous St. Brown on injured reserve, Green Bay opened the contest with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Darrius Shepherd out large. Even a depleted Falcons secondary couldn’t make that receiver tandem look appealing.
Rather, Rodgers turned to the other weapons in his offense– specifically tight end Robert Tonyan.
The Packers launched Jimmy Graham this offseason without an obvious replacement on the roster. Nevertheless, Graham never ever measured up to expectations while wearing green and yellow. Tonyan, on the other hand, is optimizing his opportunities as Rodgers’ new preferred target.
“Certainly, with Jimmy leaving us and not being here, it just opens up a big window for a playmaker,” Tonyan told reporters during training school. “Everyone’s going to have opportunities. Like they said previously, our tight end space is very well-rounded, but we’re trying to be the best tight end group in the NFL. We’re not simply trying to be the very best tight end for Green Bay, we’re trying to be the best tight end group in the NFL.”
The former practice-squad tight end is presently the NFL’s best gamer at his position. OK, that’s laying it on thick, however Tonyan’s 5 goal receptions are presently tied for the league lead along with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans.
Mike Roemer/Associated Press For contrast, Graham captured five goal passes in 2 seasons with the Packers, while Tonyan has published the very same number through four games. Currently, the Packers tight end has more touchdowns this season than the combined efforts of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Travis Kelce, the Las Vegas Raiders‘ Darren Waller, the Los Angeles Chargers‘ Hunter Henry, the New York Giants‘ Evan Engram and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, per Pro Football Focus.
Tonyan offers a security blanket over the middle of the field and a risk down the seam. A Falcons protector even tried to tackle the tight end to no avail on his third goal catch of the night.
“I’ve been doing yoga twice a week, so I believe the somersault assisted. … Yeah, that was insane,” the Indiana State item informed reporters after the video game.
In total, Tonyan snagged 6 passes for a team-leading 98 backyards and the previously mentioned three ratings during Sunday’s rout. Marcedes Lewis’ lack from the lineup due to an injured knee also put a higher focus on him mastering both stages of the game.
While Green Bay does count on its tight ends to block, the offending line’s efficiency has been something unique. Keep in mind, the Packers have actually mixed their lineup numerous times already, yet the group still ranked very first overall in both run- and pass-block win rate going into Week 4, per Next Gen Stats (h/t the ESPN pregame telecast).
Think of that for a second.So far, Elgton Jenkins played right take on in Week 1 prior to returning to his routine spot at left guard. Rookie sixth-round Jon Runyan Jr. was pushed into the lineup at best guard due to the fact that of an injury to Lucas Patrick. Rick Wagner began a video game at best deal with, too. Patrick and Billy Turner are now trying to strengthen the ideal side after the Packers lost long-lasting right deal with Bryan Bulaga in totally free firm previously this year.Yet the group continues to excel. It’s paving running lanes and securing Rodgers at a high level despite the consistent shuffling. The front five’s excellent efficiency makes life simpler on everyone else, specifically the running backs. Aaron Jones was already among the league’s much better running backs, and everyone knew it.
After all, he leads all ball-carriers in hurrying goals and overall goals because the start of the 2019 campaign. After Monday’s 71-yard performance, the 25-year-old back ranks second total with 374 rushing backyards this season. Tom Lynn/Associated Press Jones continues to be a significant danger as both a runner and receiver while acting as the existing focal point of the Packers offense.”Aaron’s versatility really appears when we divided him out as a pass receiver,”LaFleur told press reporters last month.” He’s done some terrific things.
The other thing that I believe you can’t sleep on [with] Aaron is just his ability as a pass protector, too. … He’s simply a truly complete back in all 3 stages.”Green Bay features a strong stable of backs. Aside from Jones, Jamaal Williams is a physical runner between the deals with and continues to grow as a getting threat. He led the group Monday night with 8 receptions out of the backfield for 95 yards.LaFleur then sprinkles in Tyler Ervin as a hybrid weapon who can frequently
be seen working across the development with presnap movement. The Packers have yet to totally incorporate this year’s second-round draft pick, the 247-pound AJ Dillon, into the plan. As soon as the novice gets rolling, Green Bay will feature the league’s inmost backfield.The Packers can easily have 2 or 3 various backs on the field at any provided time, and their diversified capability permit them to be reliable in several roles.Eventually, the group’s receivers will get healthy and return to the lineup. But many are learning precisely why basic supervisor Brian Gutenkunst took the technique he did earlier this year when he diverted away from what seemed like the
obvious path.Consider for a minute that Rodgers finished 27 of 33 passes for 327 lawns, four goals, absolutely no interceptions and a staggering 147.5 quarterback ranking without Adams, Lazard, St. Brown and Lewis on the field. Let those numbers sink in. “That’s the advantage of remaining in Green Bay, that there’s actually absolutely nothing else to do aside from be with your teammates,”Tonyan stated of team chemistry now that the team has actually scored 30 or more points in all four video games up until now in 2020. On behalf of everybody who thought the Packers made an enormous blunder by not adding another wide receiver, we’re sorry. Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @brentsobleski.