NFL

Aaron Rodgers Just Lost a New Weapon to a Season-Ending Injury

The Green Bay Packers may have defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, but the victory came at a painful price. Already operating without some of his top targets, Aaron Rodgers just lost a new weapon to a season-ending injury.

But Green Bay fans shouldn’t fret. Because during their 30-16 win in Atlanta, the Packers got a terrific performance out of a player who can help ease the team’s latest injury loss.

The Packers have been hit hard by injuries this season

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Although the Packers have started the season 4-0, they have been hit hard by injuries. In particular, Green Bay’s skill players have had a difficult time staying on the field.

Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown landed on injured reserve on Sept. 19 due to a knee issue. Following a monster performance against the New Orleans Saints, fellow wideout Allen Lazard also landed on IR due to a core muscle injury.

Plus, Aaron Rodgers has had to get by without Davante Adams. A Pro Bowl selection in each of the last three seasons, the 27-year-old wideout has missed Green Bay’s last two games with a hamstring ailment.

Still, even without his full supporting cast, Rodgers has managed to throw for 1,214 yards, 13 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The 36-year-old has rediscovered the form that made him a two-time MVP, which has played a major role in Green Bay’s hot start to the season.

Aaron Rodgers loses another weapon

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On Monday night, the Packers thoroughly dominated a Falcons squad that looks like a top candidate to earn the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Once again, Aaron Rodgers torched another secondary even without his full arsenal of weapons. The eight-time Pro Bowler completed 27-of-33 attempts for 327 yards and four touchdowns.

However, the Packers suffered another brutal blow to their depth chart in their fourth consecutive victory. Tight end Josiah Deguara left the game after going down with an apparent leg injury. On Tuesday, Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter that the rookie will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL.

Green Bay just selected Deguara with the 94th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The third-rounder racked up 92 catches for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns at the University of Cincinnati. Though the 6-foot-2, 242-pounder had totaled just one career catch before tearing his ACL, he did play 31% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and could have helped Rodgers down the stretch as a pass-catching option.

Unfortunately for Deguara, the injury stunts his development and prevents him from building chemistry with Rodgers. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that the Packers may have found a breakout star on the same night they lost one of their top draft picks.

The Packers still look strong at tight end without Josiah Deguara

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Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will survive the loss of Josiah Deguara. After all, the rookie did not play much of a factor in the offense before suffering a season-ending injury. On the other hand, Robert Tonyan’s emergence could result in even more production for the Packers’ high-octane offense.

A former undrafted free agent, the 6-foot-5, 237-pound tight end joined the Packers in 2017. With just 14 career catches to his name, Tonyan entered the 2020 season as a relative unknown. Yet, through four games, it appears as though Rodgers has another weapon to rely on as the season progresses.

Tonyan has already racked up 13 catches for 173 yards and five touchdowns, including a three-TD performance against the Falcons. His explosive athleticism gives slower linebackers nightmares. Plus, his large frame and wide catch radius allow him to outmuscle defensive backs in one-on-one situations.

At the end of the day, losing Josiah Deguara certainly hurts. But Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be just fine, especially if Tonyan continues to make big plays in the passing game.

All statistics courtesy of Sports Reference and Pro Football Reference.