Packers tight end Josiah Deguara looks to make bigger impact amid Adams departure
In his first fully healthy offseason, third-year Packers tight end Josiah Deguara is looking to make a considerable impact.
As a rookie in 2020, Deguara caught just one pass — for 12 yards — and tore his ACL in his second ever game; he returned in 2021 and caught 25 passes for 245 yards with a pair of touchdowns. His 25 receptions ranked seventh on the team and led the tight end room in catches, though the increase in snaps and targets came at the expense of Robert Tonyan’s midseason ACL tear.
Tonyan’s availability for the season-opener — on Sept. 11 against the Minnesota Vikings — is reportedly in question. To compound matters, in case you haven’t heard, Green Bay dealt Davante Adams, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, to the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this offseason.
With all those factors in play — as well as being healthy for his first fully healthy offseason as a pro — Deguara has big aspirations ahead of 2022.
“I’ve been able to work on the things I want to work on,” he told Packers.com’s Mike Spofford. “It’s not an elephant in the room, but Davante’s gone. All the balls that he got were much deserved, so there’s opportunity for guys to step up, and I’m going to try to be one of those guys.Quote via packers.com
“Physically, obviously my knee was a big deal, getting over that, but being able to stay mentally strong through the ups and the downs of the season, being able to battle back, after a bad play, after a good play, moving on to the next play, that’s the biggest thing that I learned,” he added. “My faith brought me through that and this year I’m just excited to learn from all that and be better because of it.”Quote via packers.com
He’s going to be battling for targets alongside Allen Lazard, who led Green Bay’s returning receivers in receptions (40), yards (513) and passing touchdowns (8) a year ago; that’s in addition to Randall Cobb (28 rec., 375 yds., 5 TD), Sammy Watkins, rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, as well as running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon — who look to be more involved in the passing game this season.
“As the season progressed last year, it seemed like [Deguara] was playing faster,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “Anytime you’re coming off a pretty significant injury like that, it takes some time. We were really happy with him at the end of the year and hopefully he can build upon that.”Quote via packers.com
It could go a long way in developing a deep connection with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Nobody has any idea who’s going to be the No. 1 target or the red-zone threat with Adams gone. You could pencil in Lazard and Cobb atop that list. Who else? Deguara, listed at 6-foot-5, *could* be one of those guys, but his odds are as good as any of the others secondary targets.
Young receivers don’t have a great track record with Aaron Rodgers, though Tonyan developed an unexpected kinship with Rodgers in his third season in 2020. He hauled in 52 catches for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns — can Deguara potentially replicate the same production? Or at least close to that? Only time will tell.
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