The critique of the Green Bay Packers is their inability to provide Aaron Rodgers with solid offensive weapons over the course of his career. And while the offense has found weapons in unexpected places (Davante Adams, Aaron Jones), it has not been enough to try and fend off those doubters.
But with the 2020 version of the Packers having jumped out to a 3-0 start with the Atlanta Falcons next up on the slate, some of those critics have been silenced a bit, especially with how well this offense has looked so far. And their offensive gains have been fueled by an unexpected source – their tight ends.
Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, and rookie Josiah Deguara have all combined to produce consistent safety valves for Rodgers throughout the first three weeks, even though none of these players are even close to being household names.
Lewis probably is the most well-known name out of this group of four players, only due to the fact that he has been in the league for a very long time. For Tonyan and Sternberger, they are still relatively young in this league and are trying to make names for themselves, and Deguara is settling in as the H-back / tight end / fullback swiss army knife for Matt LaFleur and this offense.
To this day, Lewis remains the only first-round pick that Rodgers has connected with on a touchdown pass, a fact that skeptics throw around continuously.
Tonyan is the fourth-leading receiver on this team with seven catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns, putting up a respectable 10.7 yards per reception. Acting as more of an offensive weapon than a safety valve or just an option out in the flat, Tonyan seems to have taken over the TE1 spot on this team pretty solidly, as Sternberger is still getting his feet wet, Lewis is basically a blocker out on the field, and Deguara is wearing a ton of different hats.
The TE production is going to be exactly what helps keep this offense afloat, especially with Allen Lazard on the IR and Adams working his way back to full health. Taking pressure off of the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and others, as well as Jones, Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin, and rookie AJ Dillon is exactly what the TEs are doing, and will need to continue to do.
All four TEs will be needed on a weekly basis, and they will need to continue to be out there on the field filling their roles for this offense to remain successful – even without any big names in that positional group.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23