Lack of appreciation for Tonyan speaks to the team’s offensive efficiency

Potentially coming from a slightly-biased outlook, the biggest omission to the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl roster on the offensive side of the ball came in the form of Robert Tonyan, who was passed over for by Giants’ tight end Evan Engram.

Aaron Rodgers brought up a really solid point in a recent interview for a potential reason as to why Big Bob was passed over for this award, as players commonly of his tenure and age are not picked for these types of nominations. 

But a bigger reason that explains this snub better is that the GB offense has been so dominant across the board that individual performances do not stand out as much.

On a team like the Tennessee Titans, their offense in years past has been solely run through Derrick Henry, and his stats certainly jumped off the page, elevating him to a whole different pedestal after leading the league. But not until recently has Henry had a competent QB (Ryan Tannehill) and a competent WR1 (A.J. Brown) surround him in the offense, which has helped displace some offensive workload, even though his numbers continue to still be eye-popping.

For Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have certainly led the charge on offense, consistently keeping this team afloat in an up-tempo passing attack that predicates itself on heavy targets and varying route combinations. Yet Tonyan’s role as a field-splitting TE is a valued role as well, especially in an offense like Matt LaFleur’s, where zone runs help set up play-action plays and deep shots.

Tonyan’s 10 scores tie Travis Kelce for the league lead, and his 49 receptions puts him with the 10th-most, but his overall efficiency is what speaks to his dominance this year – he has been targeted 55 times over the course of 14 games this season (just under four targets/game), and has only not hauled in six.  That 89 percent conversion rate is absolutely crazy, especially with this offense not being a pass-heavy unit that throws the ball 40+ times every game.

Efficiency is the name of the game in the NFL, and Tonyan has done the most with his limited targets this season, especially with 20 percent of his catches have gone for scores. On the year, 16 tight ends have recorded at least 40 receptions, and Tonyan ranks dead last in targets (55) of that group, so his great hands and route tree is established but also greatly overshadowed in this high-powered offense.

With no slander directed towards Big Bob in any means, his lacking Pro Bowl nomination can be blamed more on the offense’s efficiency more than just a general oversight. Statistics don’t lie, and while Tonyan is certainly deserving of that bid, he certainly will be more appreciative of the team’s success, especially if it results in bringing home that Lombardi trophy.

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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

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