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Bye Week Positional Review: Tight Ends

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The team took steps to strengthen this position group heading into the 2015 season. How have the tight ends performed so far this year?

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Tight end was a distinct weakness on the Falcons' roster last season. Levine Toilolo did not appear to be the long-term answer, and overall, the 2014 group did not contribute much. The Falcons added two tight ends in free agency, Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki, and while Moeaki was initially cut from the roster after the final preseason game, he was re-signed by the team on October 6th.

Overall, this is an improved position group over last season's. Jacob Tamme in particular has been a great addition, and Levine Toilolo is improved. Moeaki isn't featured much in this offense, but he's been fine when he is on the field.

Jacob Tamme

Tamme has been a solid addition to the Falcons' roster and has contributed quite a bit so far this season. To date, Tamme has 430 yards and one touchdown on 38 receptions, and he's proven to be a mostly reliable target for Matt Ryan. Tamme's a good receiver but just an okay blocker, and his Pro Football Focus scores reflect that.

Through nine weeks, and being on the field about 64% of the time, Tamme has a -2.9 overall from PFF this season, and the negative is primarily because of his blocking. He has a +3.2 in the passing game, but negative scores in pass blocking and run blocking. Tamme's chemistry with Ryan and his offensive teammates, along with his talent, have made him a valuable addition to this team.

Levine Toilolo

Toilolo has been much maligned by the fan base after being thrust into a starting role in 2014 following the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. Those are big shoes to fill, and Toilolo wasn't prepared. We've seen improved play from Toilolo this season, and he has worked very hard to strengthen his blocking and receiving skills. We see those improvements in his PFF scores so far this season.

Pro Football Focus does give Toilolo a negative grade overall, but it's much less negative than his overall grade last season. Toilolo was awarded a -21 overall by PFF for his play in 2014. This season, he has a -4.8. Toilolo has been on the field for nearly 50% of the offensive snaps this season and has just 36 receiving yards on six catches, and I'd like to see the team use him more as an end zone target. Overall, we're seeing better play from Toilolo, and that's encouraging.

Tony Moeaki

The team re-signed Moeaki while Jacob Tamme was recovering from a concussion he sustained in the Dallas game, and he hasn't played much. He's been on the field for just 37 snaps and has one reception for 11 yards. He has a -1.1 grade overall from Pro Football Focus, mainly because of a -1.4 run blocking grade. Moeaki isn't a huge contributor, but he's a steady veteran presence.

Your thoughts on the tight ends?