The Green Bay Packers pass catching unit looks very different today than it did one year ago. A familiar face that Aaron Rodgers will look to target this season will be tight end Robert Tonyan. Returning from an October ACL tear, can the Packers trust Tonyan as a consistent option for next season?
The average recovery time for a clean ACL tear is typically between 9-12 months, according to Stephania Bell of ESPN. However after last season, Packers fans may be a little apprehensive of relying upon a seamless return to action.
After David Bakhtiari’s injury in December 2020, he struggled to return to the field last season. While the expectation for Bakhtiari was never an early season return, the 17 week long absence was concerning. Then, even after a wild card weekend bye, the All-Pro LT missed the biggest game of the season. In a divisional round matchup with San Fransico, Bakhtiari’s absence was truly felt as Rodgers was sacked five times.
Needless to say, Packers fans may have trust issues with key players looking to return from ACL tears.
Robert Tonyan burst onto the scene in 2020, hauling in 11 TD catches. In the process, the 6’5″ TE tied the franchise record for single season TD receptions by a tight end. This is clearly a target that when healthy, Aaron Rodgers trusts in big moments. With the lack of depth at pass catcher this season, there may be a great deal of big moments for Tonyan.
After trading Davante Adams to Las Vegas, and allowing MVS to sign with Kansas City, the Packers have sat by and watched numerous other teams trade to bolster their receiving core. While frustrating in the eyes of some fans, this signals the trust the Packers front office has on their returning tight end.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst would not specify a timetable on the tight ends return this season. It was optimistic to hear however, when Gute said he was “ahead of schedule.” When speaking to the role expected of the Indiana State product, Gute went onto say how “important he is going to be to our offense.”
Tonyan would have been one of the more sought after options on the free agency market had the week 8 injury not occurred. This is a talented pass catcher that the Packers secured for a value “prove it” type deal this offseason. In an offense that is going to need to get creative in 2022, expect schemes to be planned around passes to running backs and tight ends. “Big Bob” is going to be a big part of this Packers offense.
Zach has been a lifelong Packers fan since his earliest memories of Brett Favre\\\'s Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII. A proud shareholder of the team, he bleeds Green and Gold despite being born and raised in New Jersey. You can follow him on twitter at @RapMasterZach.