Without Cobb or Tonyan, Allen Lazard Fills Needed Roles & Shines

With Randall Cobb and Robert Tonyan sidelined, Allen Lazard has filled important roles within the offense during their absences and shined while doing so.

Although this Packers offense primarily runs through Davante Adams and the running backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, Green Bay is at their best when they have other contributors. Unfortunately, among the numerous injuries the Packers sustained this season, Green Bay has had to navigate a good chunk of the season without Randall Cobb or Robert Tonyan. 
 
When on the field, Cobb wasn't targeted heavily for the most part, but he was a trusted pass-catcher who made his biggest impact in high-leverage situations, such as on third downs and in the red zone. With Tonyan, while he wasn't producing the same numbers that he did a season ago, he still had three games with at least 49 receiving yards, and he was always a threat in the red zone. 
 
However, one big theme for the Green Bay Packers and a big reason that they were successful this season despite the injuries, is that when someone went down, someone else oftentimes stepped up--and in this case, that player was Allen Lazard.
 
From a pure numbers standpoint, Lazard has been on fire since the bye week. Over the last five games, he has been targeted 28 times, catching 21 of those passes for 290 yards, or nearly 14 yards per catch, and five touchdowns. But in addition to the gaudy numbers he's put up, Lazard's role within the offense has helped mitigate the absences of Cobb and Tonyan.
 
Since Cobb's injury, Lazard has averaged about five more snaps per game from the slot, according to PFF--and in several instances, he has been Aaron Rodgers' go-to target on third downs. On third or fourth downs this season, Lazard has 14 receptions on 22 targets, with 13 of those receptions going for first downs. In the red zone, he has six receptions, but five have gone for touchdowns. 
 
We've also seen Lazard asked to take on Tonyan's role in the passing game at times, finding a lot of success over the middle of the field, including running a leak on his touchdown catch vs. Detroit, a play typically drawn up for a tight end. Between the numbers this season on non-downfield targets, Lazard has 20 receptions on 26 targets for 230 yards and three touchdowns. 
 
Lazard even has a few snaps per game where he is lined up in-line like a tight end, and of course, he is still one of the best blocking receivers in the game. 
 
“Since maybe the Rams game, he’s played a number of really good games. Made contested catches, big plays down the field. He does all the dirty work, so getting him the ball is awesome,” Aaron Rodgers said via Packers Wire. “He’s been making plays down the field, which is great.”
 
As a whole, the Green Bay Packers' offense, as well as Aaron Rodgers, really began to click over the final stretch of the season. Of course, there are many reasons for this, not only Lazard's play, but I also don't believe it's a coincidence that his emergence coincides with this unit taking off. Over Rodgers' final seven games, he completed 72 percent of his passes, along with 20 touchdowns, and he posted a passer rating of 124.4.
 
For a Green Bay Packers team that has often been questioned about the depth of their receiver room and who their true No. 2 wide receiver is, Lazard has emerged as a bonafide option and not just a situational pass-catcher or someone who only does the dirty work. He also emerged at an important time when this Packers offense was missing two reliable and trusted pass-catchers.

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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7 points

Comments (35)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Coldworld's picture

January 17, 2022 at 11:13 am

Lazard has played several games below par, which hurts his receiving, because he’s by far the best at other things. He’s got a lot of stick for that. When he is healthy, he’s smart and a good route runner. He’s a big receiver with good catch radius and physical in contested situations. He’s not going to burn many DBs for speed, but he does know how to use his body to take them out of the play.

You are right, he’s taking part of the move type role and doing it well, but part of that is because he did so before to a good extent. The loss of Tonyan just increased it. In some ways, not having Tonyan helps in the better blocking in line from Lewis and Davis and in space from Deguara and Dafney. For once, all of those seem healthy. This team has adapted well in that respect.

9 points
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ImaPayne2's picture

January 17, 2022 at 12:29 pm

I like Lazard but with an asterisk this season. He looks like he lost some speed. Whether he put on weight or has a leg injury, he isnt running away from anyone. Matter of fact Adams isnt either on throws of 20 yards or more, there is always someone hanging on him. MVS and St Brown just arent. i dont think other teams hardly even cover them, they understand the balls going to Adams or a possible short pass to a tight end. There just is no deep threat in this team anymore, I blame Gutt for that getting Love instead of a deep threat to replace Jordy. Conisdering who was still on the board thats a big ouch.

-10 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 17, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Awe bleteþ after lomb
lhouþ after calue cu
Bulluc sterteþ
bucke uerteþ
murie sing cuccu

Just thought I’d keep up the old bucolic bovine tone, even if it’s not spring.

3 points
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Oppy's picture

January 17, 2022 at 05:34 pm

I've seen others make the connection to Cow.
Is it him?
I've never seen the parallel in writing style. I never thought Cow was a Vikings fan, he/she was just negative.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 17, 2022 at 07:56 pm

Personally, I just joke about it. I don't know if others are serious or not.

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dobber's picture

January 18, 2022 at 07:30 am

It's not cow...just someone else with bovine tendencies.

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Coldworld's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:13 am

Old Cow or new Cow, no matter: same level of insight and attitude.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

January 17, 2022 at 05:32 pm

When Adams has WRs hanging on him, it's usually because a ball was slightly underthrown and he had to adjust (slow down) to make the catch. He's not a burner but he's got enough deep speed to make it a foot race if the ball is out in front of him.

Lazard has never been a speed demon, but the nice thing is, you don't have to be in order to be a good WR in the league, despite what your average draftnik would have you believe. It sure doesn't hurt to have wheels, though.

The best way to make teams cover all your receivers is to throw to all your receivers.

2 points
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edp1959's picture

January 18, 2022 at 06:13 am

Why would Adams have WRs hanging on him? You gotta get that dig in for the one you hate, what a shame. RDS is sad, very very sad.

ROCK ON REAL PACKERS FANS!!!

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Oppy's picture

January 18, 2022 at 09:04 pm

Let me be concise when I say this EDP:

Read the fucking thread I'm replying to before you flap your lips at me.

Thanks.

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dobber's picture

January 18, 2022 at 07:34 am

If you watch Lazard, his speed is less of an issue when he's running these TE type routes because he's drawing more LB coverage...and he's got an advantage there in most cases.

"Lazard has never been a speed demon, ....despite what your average draftnik would have you believe."

Many draftniks are just summarizing test numbers and other draftniks' assessments...and many really don't understand football any more than the average fan does.

As for the previous comment about #17 losing a step...well, if that's losing a step, then I hope all the Packers WRs age as gracefully.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:15 am

He’s not lost a step. He was playing banged up.

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Razer's picture

January 17, 2022 at 12:41 pm

I love the play of Lazard. Blue collar, gets his hands dirty and dependable. Perfect WR/TE blend and a great teammate. I do wish that the offense had a quick-twitch speed WR who could command a defense's attention. Our WR mold is a little too similar and separation is something that we struggle with.

8 points
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Guam's picture

January 17, 2022 at 03:27 pm

Agree Razer. I had hoped Amari Rodgers would be the quick twitch slot receiver the Packers have lacked but that hasn't happened. Gute may have to draft again this year to find that guy.

2 points
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PeteK's picture

January 17, 2022 at 06:59 pm

Cobb is filling that role albeit just a flutter now, but getting the job done.

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Coldworld's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:24 am

I think AmRod was seen as a sort of Deebo, but despite his build had little experience carrying the ball and no route tree to speak of. I thought we’d work him in on limited routes and the option. Focus on letting him run with the ball from space or the backfield. Apparently they decided to treat him as a full route tree slot from the outset. As a result, he’s had a mountain to climb that’s proved beyond him and we’ve never seen him as an option player.

Maybe next year we see if he can play, but he’s just not ready and that’s a mistake on the coaches in my view. Overreaching as far as the ask instead of using him in a lesser role while he learned. The result being no role and rightly in current merit. I hope they’ve built in a few routes for Moore. He’s experienced, will be active surely and should be prepared to be an extra option if needed.

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Philarod's picture

January 17, 2022 at 07:53 pm

I really like Lazard, although he is limited in his skill-set. We need his blocking and toughness, and he has to make the plays that come his way. To his credit, he has been playing quite well.

When you look at our offense, we have a great #1 in Davante, but he's never been a speedster. Has Rodgers ever had that great burner? Jordy was fast - and one of the fastest once the ball was in his hands. It was as if he grabbed the baton as an anchorm. I don't think that he flat-out scared anyone with pure speed. I thought Jennings was quite talented. But never a superstar #1 who scared you with his speed.....Pardon the ramble.

I wish MVS would be that consistent 2 - him or ESB. Not yet, even though MVS has made good strides. And Lazard and Cobb are like #3s now, with a serviceable TE in JD. I just don't think this is a dominant unit, but give them credit for patching the O-line together. Rodgers still has to be close to flawless to beat a good time, as it's always been. Hopefully the special teams won't dig a hole for us, and the D will revert to where they were in the first half of the year.

GPG!

4 points
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PatrickGB's picture

January 17, 2022 at 01:45 pm

I kinda agree about that speed thing. One player has it the others are good but not great. But Matt’s offense doesn’t rely on speed. And I am unsure if Rodgers has been overthinking the speed of MVS. They often don’t seem to be on the same page. Maybe it’s because he has been out of the lineup a lot and Rodgers has a better feel for the other receivers.

3 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 17, 2022 at 09:22 pm

Agree —PatrickGB.

1 points
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TheKanataThrilla's picture

January 17, 2022 at 01:57 pm

I think that for Aaron and the organization the emphasis has always been focused on dependability of route running first and speed second. If you can't figure out the first, you don't get balls thrown your way.

It's unfortunate we have never found a route runner who is also a burner, but it is not like there are many of those to be had throughout the league.

4 points
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Philarod's picture

January 17, 2022 at 08:04 pm

Good points, and I don't want to complain about Davante -- he's great, tough, dedicated and skilled. He has great feet and gets free in tight spaces, but he doesn't really have stretch-the-field blazing speed.

I think there are some players that just are complete overmatches. Davante is a handful, but it's mostly due to Rodger's precision. He gets yards - lots of them - but not a crack and take-it-to-the=house speed.

KC has two guys that can't really be covered in Kelce and Hill.

TB has Gronk (not what he once was, but so big he's always open) and another huge body in Evans. With Godwin and Fournette and that line, it's not fair.
Cowboys (hate them but) have three burners at wideout.
Rams - Nobody covers Kupp on any route. OBJ isn't yet what he was, but look out if he recovers fully.
Niners have Kittle and Samuel who can outmatch anyone.
Even Seattle has Metcalf and Lockett.

When you throw in our backfield, overall weapons for Rodgers is good, but not quite to the level of some other teams, I don't think. We are missing Tonyan, who started to add a lot last season. That said, I think that if our D plays well and special teams don't suck, that our offense can hold their own with any team.
Has to be the year, right?

3 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 17, 2022 at 09:22 pm

Good points Philarod—much what I believe.

2 points
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Philarod's picture

January 18, 2022 at 07:17 am

Thanks. Sometimes, I ramble a bit, but hopefully not toooo much.

0 points
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calabasa's picture

January 17, 2022 at 02:25 pm

This may not be the place, but I want to share how much I enjoy the McCarthy chatter in Dallas.

Even though he brought us xlv, so many boneheaded moments of clock mgmt, offensive stagnation, “pad level” etc makes me enjoy him bringing this to the f’ing Cowboys.

I thought he took a year off and “reinvented” himself?! Thanks Mike.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:04 am

My problem with MM was he never seemed to be able to adjust at half time. However, far and away he either never knew how to or was unwilling to try to use young talent and develop them. Instead he would constantly use broken down injured and older vets hindering the developmentof younger players. MLF is a breath of fresh air!

2 points
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gkarl's picture

January 17, 2022 at 02:39 pm

I don't think anybody's ever going to game plan for Lazard like a true #2 receiver that you see on some teams. He's still provides a lot of value to the GBP and is a very valuable part of their offense. I like what he does for GBP and AR is trusts him, he fit very well in the MLF offense. Hoping that along with the return of Cobb & MVS get's us a SB victory.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 17, 2022 at 03:00 pm

I see some of us are slow to realize that the LaFleur offense is different than we've seen before, and the roles of the #2 WR is different. Lazard is the prototype: Big, physical, decent hands. He's faster here than a lot of people think. He and MVS have usually combined to put a starter out there opposite Adams, which is where the ball is going anyway. And he's cheap.

He's an RFA, which means he'll be back next year and still fairly cheap. Along with Amari Rodgers, that's about all I can say for certain about our WRs next year. Without Adams, we don't have a #1 and you need that straw to stir the drink, so I'd look for either a trade or a draft pick to get us a #1 next year.

6 points
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Guam's picture

January 17, 2022 at 03:34 pm

I think your point that Lazard and MVS are collectively the Packer's #2 WR is spot on. It doesn't have to be one guy, but rather each can be a situational #2 depending on the play call. And I suspect MVS may be fairly cheap next year too as he has not had a "break out" year.

Heaven help us if the Packers have to rely too heavily on Amari Rodgers next year. He may yet develop, but his professional future is certainly not clear at this point.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 17, 2022 at 03:53 pm

If Adams leaves, we’re gonna need a guy who the defense has to guard.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

January 17, 2022 at 05:37 pm

If only we had a RB with experience and success running against a loaded box... ;)

2 points
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PeteK's picture

January 17, 2022 at 07:04 pm

OPPA!!

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Brockrice99's picture

January 17, 2022 at 03:48 pm

49ers corners have been iffy and rightfully so they will focus a lot of attention to Davante, meaning guys like Lazard and MVS (if healthy) and Cobb (if healthy) really need to show out and ball out if Davante is being doubled all game. Then of course the offensive line has to hold up to give Aaron time as well as creating holes for the two backs. This has to be the year (I said this last year sadly) but this is it go out and take that next step towards the Lombardi.

4 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:12 am

Sure I had read about Lazard but will never forget how in the first preseason game with the Packers Lazard came out of no where on the TV screen on a kickoff and seemingly took out 2 or 3 guys and made the tackle. It was such a dominate play I literally jumped and said who the hell is #13. He is my kind of player and no doubt MLF's. Glad he is wearing green & gold and as Leatherhead says....he will be back next year!

2 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

January 18, 2022 at 09:48 am

Lazard is one of the Packers' most valuable players, blocking, making first down catches, lately TDs, but he's basically a glorified TE.

The need for a #2 receiver to take the pressure off of Adams is still there. OBJ was the perfect fit, had huge upside, was a once-dominant receiver, relatively cheap, and wanted to play for the Packers. He's been nothing short of great for the Rams. Six TDs since he arrived. Kupp was blanketed last night so Stafford went to OBJ for big plays. He's far and away better than MVS or Lazard. I honestly couldn't believe Gute didn't sign him, despite the possible cap implications. There was a way I'm sure.

Last year in the 4th quarter of the championship game Rodgers became fixated on Adams and it proved to be fatal. What do you think he'll do this year with the game on the line, look for MVS or Lazard? I actually hope so, but I doubt it.

3 points
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Avrumi's picture

January 18, 2022 at 03:01 pm

𝐈 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 $𝟏𝟒𝟎 𝐭𝐨 $𝟒𝟓𝟎 𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐈 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝟑 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐢𝐢𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐲 $𝟐𝟒𝟔𝟓𝟐 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 .

𝐒𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐄,,..,,... 𝘄𝘄𝘄.𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗝𝗼𝗯𝟮𝟰𝟳.𝗰𝗼𝗺

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