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Old 09-23-2009, 03:31 PM  
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Gonzalez finds a happy place in Falcons' talented offense

Gonzalez finds a happy place in Falcons' talented offense

By Steve Wyche | NFL.com
Senior Writer

Think there's a happier player in the NFL than Tony Gonzalez? Think there's a happier team than the Atlanta Falcons to have him?

The union between the future-Hall-of-Fame tight end and a team desperately in need of one has produced better-than-expected results -- for both. Gonzalez has already equaled his win total of all of last season (two games) and Atlanta already is nearing the overall output of receptions from the tight end position in 2008 with Gonzalez's production.

Gonzo has 12 catches for two touchdowns. Last season, the Falcons had 19 catches for two TDs from the tight end spot all season. Meanwhile, in Kansas City, where Gonzalez labored for 12 seasons, the Chiefs have just two catches from the tight end spot and have yet to win.

"He has all those catches but, because of the attention he brings, he also drew a pass interference in the end zone (vs. Carolina) that got us the ball on the 1-yard line and we score on the next play," Falcons Coach Mike Smith said. "His production upgrades us. You'll see through the year, depending on how teams want to defend our offense, where the ball is going to go."

And Smith isn't just talking about the passing game.

With a cerebral quarterback in Matt Ryan, a Pro Bowl running back in Michael Turner and a Pro Bowl wide out in Roddy White, defenses have already exposed themselves to pre-snap audibles in which Ryan can turn a passing play into a run if he recognizes a safety sliding over to protect deep coverage and a nickel back eye-balling Gonzalez. That's freed up running space for Turner.

The options are multiple because Gonzalez has added a dimension that's turned an already good offense into a scary one.

And how about the overall tight end production around the league; after Colts TE Dallas Clark's ridiculous showing Monday night, four of the top 19 receivers, based on yardage are: Clark (1), San Diego's Antonio Gates (13), Washington's Chris Cooley (18), and Gonzalez.

Other vets in new locales who are loving life almost as much as Gonzalez:

Saints safety Darren Sharper: Let go by the Vikings, Sharper is tied with Oakland's Michael Huff with a league-high three interceptions. Sharper has returned nine for touchdowns in his career -- tying him with Deion Sanders. Sharper has 57 career picks. Wow.

Jets linebacker Bart Scott: Rex Ryan knew what he was doing when he signed Scott from the Ravens. Scott has eight tackles -- six against New England on Sunday -- and is an intimidator. So far, he's been the first linebacker to leave Baltimore wanting to create his own identity who has.

Broncos safety Brian Dawkins: Uh, this guy is not washed up. The enforcer who left the Eagles for Denver via free agency has 17 tackles (that's not always good for a safety). However, he's an in-the-box intimidator who has helped a team transitioning to a 3-4 defense to rank second overall in the NFL. Denver hasn't faced an offensive juggernaut yet, but Dawkins' value can't be understated.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:32 PM   #2
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Who is this Tony Gonzales that you speak of?
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:34 PM   #3
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It would be nice to have him, but when we add a player like Brandon Spikes next year with the pick, we'll be glad Pioli made the move, looking to the future.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:35 PM   #4
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Good stuff for Gonzo, he deserves it.

My only concern is turning that second rounder into a good football player...
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:37 PM   #5
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BigChiefFan View Post
It would be nice to have him, but when we add a player like Brandon Spikes next year with the pick, we'll be glad Pioli made the move, looking to the future.
I don't see Brandon Spikes lasting until the 2nd round.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:43 PM   #7
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I didn't like that Tony G left.. he's my favorite player... but I hope the Falcons win it all this year.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
I don't see Brandon Spikes lasting until the 2nd round.
I suspect one of three things will happen:

1) We trade that pick for an established player.
2) We use that pick to trade up.
3) We use that pick to trade down.

I'd almost be shocked to see us sit tight and use that slot to draft a player unless someone we really love falls there...
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
I don't see Brandon Spikes lasting until the 2nd round.
We have TWO 2nd round picks, which pretty much guarantees us some choice selections, which was my point.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DaWolf View Post
Good stuff for Gonzo, he deserves it.

My only concern is turning that second rounder into a good football player...
My thoughts exactly,that pick had better be a damn good football player when its all said and done,or I'll.............uh bitch and gripe like I always do.....
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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tony g, lawrence tynes, jared allen, rich gannon, neil smith...all names i dont know, but for some reason my fingers type the letters.
The Chiefs are a great farm club for the pro teams of the NFL.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:55 PM   #12
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Who is this Tony Gonzales that you speak of?
I think it's this guy.

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Old 09-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #13
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I didn't like that Tony G left.. he's my favorite player... but I hope the Falcons win it all this year.
I love TG, but that would give us the 64 over all pick next year. Sorry pal, but my Chiefs come first so I hope they win good games but we still get middle to early second round pick.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:00 PM
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
I don't see Brandon Spikes lasting until the 2nd round.
Neither do I, but I hope that the Chiefs use one of their second rounders on Joe Pawelek.
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