2014 was a year to forget for the Falcons when it came to the Tight End position. Even though Levine Toilolo was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2013 NFL Draft, many believed his 6’8” body would create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, that was never the case, as Toilolo only grabbed 31 receptions for the 2014 season. Many thought former Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez could help Toilolo during his rookie season, but Toilolo has looked like nothing but a mess since becoming the main tight end in Atlanta’s offense.
This offseason, General Manager Thomas Dimitroff decided to bring in two Tight Ends to try to resolve the situation. He brought in a five-year veteran in Tony Moeaki and a seven-year player in Jacob Tamme. Both of these guys bring experience to the table, and maybe that can cause the tide to turn in the Falcons favor. Anybody has a chance to start for the Falcons next season, but why should Atlanta fans have high hopes for Tamme and Moeaki? Let’s take a closer look.
Jacob Tamme has played with the best of the best. Playing under future Hall-of-Fame player, Peyton Manning, Tamme is expected to bring the football IQ to the field. He didn’t just play under Manning for one season, he has played every season in his career with Manning. Peyton Manning is one of the smartest quarterbacks, if not the smartest, to ever play in the NFL. Tamme has been with him the past seven years, so he has learned how to read defenses. Tamme should be able to help Ryan locate what the opposing defenses are running in order to help Atlanta counter that attack. Not only that, but Tamme has some pretty reliable hands on him. The most dropped passes in a season he has had was three, which was in 2010, when he was thrown at 98 times. Even though Tamme did not start a game for the Denver Broncos last season, he was still called upon in tight situations. I have high hopes for Tamme, and believe he will be the top tight end on the Falcons roster by the end of this year.
Tony Moeaki is the other Tight End free agent the Falcons took a gamble on. Moeaki is a high risk due to the fact that he has a history of injuries during his career. Playing in just eight games in the past two seasons is not very compelling, but maybe the Falcons front office sees something that we don’t. Moeaki is like Tamme, in that he does not drop many balls when thrown at. He played in Seattle last year, which means he knows what it takes to win in the NFL. He can bring a winning attitude to Atlanta, and hopefully help out a quarterback who is in his prime right now.
Having three tight ends on the roster could be a blessing in disguise. They all have the same goal in they want to be starting for the Falcons, which means they the competition during practice will be intense. Players do not like to admit it, but practicing and getting in sync with their team will help them immensely throughout the season. This is why I believe these newly acquired Tight Ends will help solve this position of need. The front office decided to pass on addressing the position in the 2015 NFL Draft because they had a plan of signing veterans to the team. I expect the Tight Ends for Atlanta to perform the complete opposite of 2014. No, these tight ends aren’t “sexy”, but they know how to do the little things in order to win. And that is what Atlanta has been lacking for the past two seasons; a winning attitude. Expect Jacob Tamme to have a big year and be one of the guys Matt Ryan trusts throughout the season. Tony Moeaki is more questionable because of his durability. If he can stay healthy, I expect him to be another target that Ryan can throw to as well, especially on third-downs. Atlanta has decided to stick with these three guys. None of them have ever been the prototypical “go-to” guy in the NFL, but one of them is going to have to step up, or the Falcons are going to have a tough time converting on different situations.