Falcons Tight End Review: A Position of Need

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzalez's last hurrah was all for naught. Now the Falcons have to try and replace the greatest TE in the game.

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Falcoholic Game Show Round 2!

First question: How many TE graded out positively overall this season?

If you guessed none, you win!

Tony Gonzalez (-3.0) was, of course, a fine passing weapon (9.0), but his run blocking was extra terrible (-12.6). That's Lamar Holmes (-15.2) and Peter Konz (-15.7) territory for those wondering. He also had around the same amount of run blocking snaps (315) as Holmes (340) and Konz (289).

I love Gonzo. No disrespect, but we definitely need to improve our run blocking. Those grades suggest to me that he was also a problem in our run game. Tight ends have to seal the edge and it looks like he wasn't doing a good job of that.

The Roster

Now that Gonzo is retired, here's all we have left on the team:

  1. Levine Toilolo (-2.7) - 11 Rec, 55 Yds, 2 TD
  2. Chase Coffman (-0.6) - Nothing.
  3. Andrew Szczerba (IR)
  4. Mickey Shuler - Signed to a Futures Contract on 12/31
Anyone else looking at this list and feeling incredibly sad?

Injuries

Not much on the injury front to report here. Szczerba was put on IR but he probably wouldn't have seen the field anyway. Gonzo was dinged up a little bit during the season, but it did not stop him from playing at any point. As far as the other TE, I can't remember if Coffman was injured or not, but I have a feeling we'll be addressing the TE position this offseason.

Best Game

Gonzo's game against the Patriots was the truth. 12/149/2? Yes, please. This one is easier since it was Gonzo or nobody in the passnig game.


Worst Game

The Pro Bowl, because it's the last time anyone will ever see Gonzalez play football. :(

Best Moment

Gonzo's last touchdown wasn't a spectacular catch, but it was something we can take with us for a long, long time.

Worst Moment

That moment when you realized that Gonzalez's last year in the NFL was a waste. See the recurring theme in this post?

Players Under Contract

Here are the tight ends of the future. It's pretty much an echo of the roster I mentioned above, but here's some cap info too. Turns out Chase Coffman is a free agent this year. Didn't notice that at first!

  1. Levine Toilolo - 2014, 570k - 2015, 660k - 2016, 750k - 2017, FA
  2. Andrew Sczcerba - 2014, 420k - 2015, ERFA
  3. Mickey Shuler - 2014, 495k - 2015, 585k - 2016, RFA

Final Grade: C

It's easy to look at this and say, "But Gonzalez!" and "Pass catching!" and "Who replaced you with Mike Tyson?" but the reality is that our tight end situation was average at best. Gonzalez did his thing catching the ball, but his run blocking rivaled Lamar Holmes and Peter Konz, two names you don't want yourself associated with for any reason other than "NFL paycheck". (Just kidding, I'm sure they're great people)

I can't give the tight ends higher than a C because none of them graded positively. I should add that isn't the sole reason, and the backup tight end situation doesn't suggest we're set for next season either. No matter how receiver-oriented tight ends are becoming, the fact remains that there will be times when they have to block. As much as I respect Gonzalez, his run blocking was flat-out not good. Toilolo has all the potential in the world to replace him but until we see that production on the field, I'll be skeptical.

What are your thoughts on the tight end situation in Atlanta? Will the Falcons try and nab a free agent tight end? (Are there even any worth gettnig?) or will they draft one in the later rounds?

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