The Green Bay Packers went 13-3 last season, won the NFC North and reached the NFC Championship Game for a second straight year. The Packers lost to Tampa Bay, though, 31-26, in the conference title game and the offseason has been packed with drama.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, but the Packers have insisted they won’t move him. Stay tuned for more theatrics in the days ahead.
With or without Rodgers, Green Bay will start training camp practices on July 28. Throughout the rest of the month, I will count down the ‘30 Most Important Packers’ heading into the 2021 campaign.
At No. 15 is tight end Robert Tonyan. The other players that have been revealed in the top-30 are listed at the bottom of the story.
TE Robert Tonyan
Last season: Tonyan had a breakout 2020 campaign in which he caught 52 passes for 586 yards. Tonyan also had 11 touchdowns, which tied Paul Coffman’s record for most TD catches in a season by a Packers tight end.
Tonyan’s 11 touchdowns tied for fifth in the league and were more than any tight end in football. Tonyan also played 61.4% of the snaps, and according to Pro Football Focus didn’t have a dropped pass.
Career to date: Tonyan began his college career at Indiana State as a quarterback. His first-ever completion was actually a 57-yard touchdown pass.
He moved to wide receiver in his second season and eventually set several ISU receiving records, including touchdown receptions (20).
Tonyan went undrafted in 2017, signed with Detroit and was released at the end of training camp. Tonyan spent the final four weeks of 2017 on Green Bay’s practice squad, then made the team the following summer.
In Tonyan’s first two seasons, though, he had a combined 14 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns, before his breakout year in 2020.
Outlook: The sky could be the limit for Tonyan, who just turned 27 in April.
Tonyan is one of the hardest workers on the team and spent part of the offseason at a tight end camp in Nashville that also included NFL standouts Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson, Eric Ebron and 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur has hinted he’d like to involve Tonyan even more in the offense this season than he did a year ago. If that’s the case, Tonyan could be poised for his first Pro Bowl appearance.
“The expectations for him are still high. He has high expectations for himself. It’s a really good relationship when it comes to approaching each day with a goal. He’s got his own set of goals that he wants to get better at each day. Through the drills that we work and then just seeing the whole broad picture of everything, knowing every position on the field, he knows that he can take his game to another level in all facets, not just the run game. His route-tree is getting better as we move forward. It’s really improved. The pass game has come alive in the protection world. He’s still continuing to make strides, even right now.” — Packers tight ends coach Justin Outten on Tonyan
“I think Bobby, he’s probably progressed as much as any player we’ve had in the two years and I know he had a really good season last year and I think there’s still more there for him. I think he’s still learning the position on he continues to get better and better, but I love his attitude, I love his work ethic, I think he’s really confident right now. Hopefully we can feature him a little bit more in our offense next season.” — Packers coach Matt LaFleur on Tonyan
“I think it’s just a good foundation for what I stand for and what I stand on, just continuing to come in here every day and work, and get better. I stand on my hard work. I stand on coming into work and putting that hard hat on and just working. It’s been great for me thus far and I’m going to continue to do that, and continue to look at the faults in my game and continue to try to bring those up and make those a strength.” — Tonyan on his big 2020 season