Tight Ends

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Tight Ends

Postby fun gus » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:39 am

Birdland – With the opening of the Falcons‘ training camp on Thursday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day. Today: the tight ends.

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and was followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, offensive line, special-teams units and wide receivers.

The players report for training camp Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the next day.
THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Can future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez continue to play at a high level?

How many catches and touchdowns will tight end Tony Gonzalez have this season in the new offense?

65 catches, 5 touchdowns (49%, 77 Votes)
80 catches, 7 touchdowns (35%, 56 Votes)
90 catches, 8 touchdowns (11%, 17 Votes)
100 catches, 10 touchdowns (5%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 158
Tight end Tony Gonzalez signed a one-year $6.9 million contract extension late last season.

The player who some consider the greatest to ever play his position, didn’t want a distraction going into the playoffs and had already made up his mind to comeback for what could be his final season in the NFL.

He went into seclusion this offseason and has not made any pronouncements about his future plans. But it’s likely safe to treat 2012 as his last lap around the league.

Gonzalez, 36, is set to enter his 16th season and has shown no signs of slowing down. In 2011 he caught 80 passes for 875 yards (10.9 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. His yard per catch average ranked ninth in the league for tight ends with at least 60 catches and third amongst the group with 80 or more catches.

His 1,149 receptions are the second most in NFL history as he trails only the great Jerry Rice (1,549). His
Falcons tight end Michael Palmer (81) has the ball knocked loose on a hard hit by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Sean Considine (37) as Jaguars cornerback Terrell Whitehead follows up the play. Associated Press

Falcons tight end Michael Palmer (81) has the ball knocked loose on a hard hit by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Sean Considine (37) as Jaguars cornerback Terrell Whitehead follows up the play. Associated Press

13,338 yards rank 11th all-time.

Gonzalez was excused from the team’s mandatory minicamp because of the death of his stepfather of 25 years. Gonzalez has mostly stayed in California over the offseason, but was on hand for a couple of organized team activity sessions.

Tight ends coach Chris Scelfo has been in communications with him and they’ve gone over all of the schematic changes in the new offense.

New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is looking forward to working with Gonzalez.

“I can’t wait to be around him and spend more time with him,” Koetter said. “Tony is proven and knows what he needs to do. …Tony is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. We are not re-inventing football out here.”

Michael Palmer, who’s set to enter his third year in league, wants to claim the No. 2 position.

LaMark Brown, Tommy Gallarda, Adam Nissley and Aron White are on the roster.

1. Block better in short yardage situation.

2. Improve their yards after the catch.

3. Provide more explosive plays.

4. Be effective in the redzone.

5. Continue to find the soft spots in zone coverages.

Here’s a look at the tight ends:

Tony Gonzalez: He went to his 12th Pro Bowl last season. He needs five more touchdown catches to reach 100 for his career. He has caught at least 60 passes in each of the past 13 seasons.

Michael Palmer: He has improved his in-line blocking and could be ready for a bigger role as the No. 2 tight end.

LaMark Brown: He has great size at 6-3, 226. He transferred from Kansas State.

Tommy Gallarda: He’s considered a blocking tight end. He spent most of last season on the practice squad. He was originally signed by Jacksonville coming out of Boise State.

Adam Nissley: He’s blocking tight end prospect at 6-5, 263. He played at South Forsyth High in Cumming.

Aron White: He finished his college career at Georgia with 34 catches for 512 yards and 10 touchdowns.

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