The Green Bay Packers tight end group looks to be a strength of this year’s team.
“We’re not just trying to be the best tight end in Green Bay. We’re trying to be the best tight end group in the NFL.” Robert Tonyan reiterated the team-first mentality that many Green Bay Packer players have all mentioned before. Each tight end brings something unique to the team, and they are all working together to make the best and most dynamic tight end room in the league.
Here is what each tight end brings to the team:
Lewis is the old man on campus in the tight end room. He came to the league as a first-round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006. After spending his first 12 years with the Jaguars, he is now entering his third year with the Packers as one of their veteran leaders. Lewis isn’t the 700 yards receiving and 10 touchdown player he was back in 2010, but he still will play a vital role for the Packers this season.
Lewis is, by far, the best blocking tight end on the roster. The Green Bay Packers look to be a run-heavy offense this season, and Lewis’ blocking ability will play a big role in that. He isn’t a slouch in the passing game either. Will he put up the numbers he did in 2010? No. He will, however, be in the right place at the right time, and be a reliable presence on the field.
Lewis’ play on the field will be helpful for the Packers, but his leadership on the team is most valuable. The Packers have a young team and it is evident at tight end. The age of the other tight ends on the roster are Baylis 26, Tonyan 26, Sternberger 24, and Deguara 23. The information and coaching that Lewis brings to those young players will speed up their development. Lewis is the Tramon Williams for the tight ends, and he is already making an impact on the young guys. During our interview this offseason, Jace Sternberger said:
“He is one person that I just want to earn his respect. I definitely care what he thinks about me. Just the way he carries himself and how he prepares. How much respect he puts in the game. It makes me want to be great in his eyes. You know, like I said he has played as long as everyone has dreamed to play. He does the little things right, is a great guy to learn from, and I’m definitely blessed to have him as part of Green Bay.”
Heading into this season, Sternberger is one player that has fans excited. His rookie season was cut short after injuring his ankle in the preseason and started the season on IR. He was unable to make an impact during the regular season, but in the playoffs, he managed to catch all three of his targets for 15 yards and one touchdown. He is entering this season healthy and with a newfound hunger after missing out on a full rookie season.
Sternberger brings something to the Packers that they hoped Martellus Bennet and Jimmy Graham would; a receiving threat. He finished his college career with Texas A&M as an All-American and led his team in receiving yards (832) and touchdowns (10). The Packers will need Sternberger to live up to the hype and produce the way he did in college to help propel the offense to the next level. With the new commitment to the run game, Sternberger could be trouble for the defense in play-action this season. The Packers are hoping that the hype around Sternberger will come to fruition, and this season is his time to make it happen.
Big Bob Tonyan, Bobby, Robert. The man of many names has been a surprising standout for the Packers during the first few days of training camp. Matt LaFleur was asked if Tonyan could become a starter this season, and he had this to stay:
“Absolutely. We feel really good about Bobby. I will tell you, he worked hard this offseason. You can tell, his body, he’s in great shape. He’s got a much better understanding of what we’re trying to do on the offensive side of the football.”
Tonyan making plays in training camp should not be surprising. This past season, he made an impressive catch on the sideline week four against the Cowboys. He also was on the receiving end of a 54-yard bomb from Rodgers in 2018 against the Seahawks to give the Packers a 14-3 lead.
Tonyan entered training camp as a player who many thought could be cut before the season, but if he continues his strong play, we could see him catching more bombs from Rodgers this season. Maybe he will even start being called Big Play Bobby.
Deguara was a controversial pick from this year’s draft but has quickly become one of the most anticipated players of the season. The biggest thing Deguara brings to the Green Bay Packers is versatility. On one drive fans could see Deguara line up as a fullback, tight end, slot receiver, and even as a wideout. Matt LaFleur loves Joshiah Deguara (his words not mine) and is going to get him involved in the offense any way he can.
The Green Bay Packers were criticized for using a third-round pick on Deguara, but he put up numbers worthy of a third-round pick. Deguara finished his college career with 1,117 receiving yards, 92 receptions (77 in final two years), and posted seven touchdowns during his final season. During his final season, Deguara also finished with 504 receiving yards which is second-most for a tight end in school history only behind Travis Kelce. The Packers are hoping that his versatility and receiving ability will help him break out and maybe become their version of Travis Kelce.
Unfortunately, Baylis is facing a very tough uphill battle. With a crowded tight end room, Baylis will need to look to special teams for a spot on the roster. Last season he appeared in five games, but every snap was taken on special teams. If he remains with the Packers heading into the season, he will either be exclusively on special teams or a practice squad member.