Don’t forget about Big Bob Tonyan.
For what feels like the millionth time over the past half-decade, the Green Bay Packers will have a new starting tight end this season.
Jimmy Graham now plays for the Chicago Bears, leaving an opening for the TE1 spot in Matt LaFleur’s offense. While the assumption for much of the offseason was that second-year Jace Sternberger will take on that role, another player in contention is Robert Tonyan.
LaFleur told reporters earlier this week that Big Bob Tonyan is very much in the mix for the starting job.
“Absolutely, we feel really good about Bobby,” LaFleur said. “He worked extremely hard this offseason. You can tell, his body, he looks in great shape. He’s got a much better understanding of what we’re trying to do on the offensive side of the football.”
Part of that offseason work was alongside All-Pro tight end George Kittle.
Everyone is still talking about Tonyan’s spectacular catch in the win over the Dallas Cowboys last season, one that showed the type of impact he can make as a pass-catching tight end. But unfortunately, that was also the play Tonyan got injured on.
Tonyan wouldn’t play again until seven weeks later against the San Francisco 49ers. In the final six games of the season, Tonyan only had six catches for 34 yards with one touchdown. It was clear he wasn’t at 100 percent, and Tonyan needed offseason surgery due to a core muscle injury.
Now that Tonyan is fully healthy, he has a great opportunity to secure a significant role in LaFleur’s offense. We’ve seen moments of his potential as a receiving option for the Packers. He now needs to put it all together and hope for some better injury luck.
The TE1 spot seems to be wide open. Don’t forget about Tonyan, who could be set for a breakout season with the Packers.