Posted: 2:16 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013
Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez 'embarassed' by his pass blocking
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said the team will have improved pass protection against the Rams on Sunday.
“Protection,” said Gonzalez when asked what the offense needs to improve on. “Starting with me. I gave up a sack last week. I haven’t done that in 13 years. It’s embarrassing.”
Gonzalez said that was only the second sack he’s given up in his career.
“It’s one of the things you can look at early in the season and I can make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We have to keep Matt (Ryan) upright and keep him in that pocket, have it nice and clean so that he can throw that ball down the field.”
The offense started off fast against the Saints, scoring on two of their first three drives.
“Give them credit,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if we were off script. I think a lot of it has to do it, including myself, that we keep a clean pocket for Matt so that he can throw the ball down the field.
“Whatever it was, it has to be corrected. It is corrected or we are working toward it. We have a couple of injuries, but we’ll be ready on Sunday because we have to be. We have no choice. We are a good football team and we can make it happen. We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.”
Gonzalez doesn’t believe the team has to necessarily run the ball more to help out the revamped offensive line.
“That’s not up to me,” Gonzalez said. “That’s up to (offensive coordinator) Dirk (Koetter) and coach Smitty. We’ll do whatever it takes. Whatever is going to be successful, that’s the beauty of this offense we’ll do it.
“If we have to give the ball to Steven Jackson 40 times a game, I’m sure we’ll do it if that’s going to get us a win. But you try to have that balance. Obviously, you have a guy like Matt Ryan, who’s one of the best in the business, and we’ve got the good receivers. We’re going to protect him a lot better this week I suspect. I’m looking forward to how we respond after last week.”
Jackson did have a 50 yard run against the Saints, but had just 11 rushes.
“It opens everything up when they have to account for him,” Gonzalez said. “This team knows better than any other team in the NFL, that if you don’t contain him, he’s going to run wild on you. I’m sure they’ll have something planned for him to make sure that he doesn’t get rolling.
“We want to have balance. That’s the best offense in this league. That’s what we’re striving for and I hope we’ll put that product out of the field this week.”
Gonzalez didn’t have any pass catching tips for guard/center Joe Hawley, who played five plays as the jumbo tight end.
“Hawley doesn’t need tips from me,” Gonzalez said. “He’s athletic and he can block well. That’s what he does. I’d put a little faith behind him, he can catch the ball. But if we have to go to that, though . . . . (He grinned).”
"what if there were no hypothetical situations?"