Countdown to Training Camp: DAY 5 — Tight Ends

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88).  (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88). (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Birdland – This is the sixth of 10 installments in the “COUNTDOWN TO TRAINING CAMP 2010.”

Each morning until Training Camp starts, we’ll take a quick look at a position group before the players report for camp on Thursday. They will hit the field for their first practice Friday.

We’ve already looked at the defensive line, linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and offensive line.

The tight ends are up today.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Can Tony Gonzalez continue to perform at a high level at his age?

It was easy to see the statistical impact that Tony Gonzalez had last season.  He caught 83 passes for 867 yards and six touchdowns.

But his real impact can’t be measured in just receptions.

When he’s on the field, defenses have to be aware of him and in some instances have two players to follow his routes. What that does is open things up for other receivers.

Justin Peelle is a savvy veteran at the No. 2 tight end slot.

There should be a good battle for the No. 3 spot between Keith Zinger, Michael Palmer and Colin Peek.

FIVE GOALS FOR THE TIGHT ENDS

Tight ends Justin Peelle and Leroy Banks signing autographs after a recent minicamp practice.  (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Tight ends Justin Peelle and Leroy Banks (since released) signing autographs after a recent minicamp practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

1.  Maintain a high level of blocking on the edge in the run game.

2. Continue to be a force on passing situations on third down.

3. Try harder to get yards after the catch.

4. Continue to develop the No. 3 tight end.

5. Be available for hot routes in blitz situations.

Here’s a look at the tight ends:

Tony Gonzalez: He needs one reception to reach 1,000 for his career.

Justin Peelle: Used mostly as a blocker last season as he caught 12 passes.

Keith Zinger: Played in 15 games last season. Has worked hard to improve his hands.

Colin Peek: Started his career at Georgia Tech, before transferring to Alabama and winning a national championship.

Michael Palmer: The Parkview High grad played at Clemson.

Date, Practice Times (public availability)

Friday, July 30 — Practice 8:30 – 10:10 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (open to the public).

Saturday, July 31 — Practice 8:30 – 10:10 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:50 p.m. (open to the public).

Sunday, August 1 — Practice 9:35 – 10:30 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:55 p.m. (open to the public).

Monday, August 2 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Tuesday, August 3 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Wednesday, August 4 — Practice 1:30 – 3:40 p.m. (open to the public).

Thursday, August 5 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 6 — Practice 10:15 – 11:55 a.m. (open to the public)

Falcons Allstate All-Access “Friday Night Lights”

Team Scrimmage at North Gwinnett High School – 7:30 p.m. (open to the public)

Saturday, August 7 — Mock Game at Flowery Branch – 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)

Sunday, August 8 — No Practice.

Monday, August 9 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Tuesday, August 10 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:50 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Wednesday, August 11 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Thursday, August 12 — Practice 8:50 – 10:55 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 13 — Preseason Week 1 vs. Kansas City 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 14 –No Practice.

Sunday, August 15 — Practice 9:30 – 11:35 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (open to the public).

Monday, August 16 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Tuesday, August 17 — Practice 8:30 – 10:55 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:35 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH NEW ENGLAND.

Wednesday, August 18 — Practice 10:15 – 11:35 a.m. (closed to public).

Thursday, August 19 — Preseason Week 2 vs. New England 8 p.m.

Friday, August 20 — No Practice.

Saturday, August 21 — 9:30 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. (closed to the public); 3:45 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Sunday, August 22 — 9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (closed to the public)

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105 comments Add your comment

freedyg

July 25th, 2010
7:15 am

freedyg

July 25th, 2010
7:18 am

there are a lot of open dates for fans. aside from the friday night lights, I might try to make it to the combined practices with Jax & NE..

robertussen

July 25th, 2010
7:56 am

this is an easy one. tony will be fine this year, but he will want to retire soon. as long as there isn’t a serious injury to tony we’ll be set as this position. as for the future, we will need to start looking for another option because i see peele. zinger, peek, and palmer as serviceable at best.

ToccoaBird

July 25th, 2010
7:59 am

TG brings more than just blocking and catching passes. He becomes an on field coach for the other TEs

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
8:15 am

TG’s receptions are down, yardage down, even his blocking ability isn’t where it should be. He’s not the threat he used to be, definitely the sun is setting on his once stellar career.

[...] D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution previews the Atlanta Falcons tight ends. [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Countdown to Training Camp: DAY 5 — Tight Ends http://bit.ly/9TS5cC [...]

robertussen

July 25th, 2010
8:33 am

hes still better than shocky will EVER be seen, and ill tell you what ive seen before, bad saints teams and lots of them. in fact the only good one i can remember is last years team that had a little luck on their side (as do most winning teams, because it does take a little luck to be a winner at this level). remember 8-8 and 13-3 is only a year apart. things change quickly in this league so unless youre a supporter of the colts or pats then go somewhere else. maybe a saints blog where you all can relive your one-hit-wonder season over and over again. cause these birds are building for long term success and the saints are getting old. dont get me wrong i still see them as contenders for maybe a year or two but im sure im not as half as worried about the saints as you are of the falcons(why else would you constantly be annoying us on a FALCONS site). now im off to work, which im sure you know nothing about given how all you do all day is talk trash on a computer. my guess is youre a kid on summer break and thank god its almost over!

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
8:40 am

How many kids do you know that read the news, even on the internet? Off to work on a Sunday morning? That’s tough. Have a good one. And don’t forget: Geaux Saints!

Matty Ice

July 25th, 2010
8:44 am

wow D-Led – that was a very insightful review of the Tight Ends…..amazing detail and insight – great journalism

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
8:58 am

When there’s only one bonifide, albeit aging rapidly, TE on the team, there’s not much to write about.

That’s not D-Led’s fault. Although Orlando, you could have tried comparing the falcant TEs with the Saints’ explosive powerhouse TEs. You would have garnered some real attention with that.

rekingball

July 25th, 2010
9:06 am

4:oopm, 26 Sep 2010, we’ll see what you have to say.

RomeDawg

July 25th, 2010
9:09 am

If you are looking for a college tight end to groom, look no further than Athens! We are stocked with talent there.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
9:11 am

I’ll be at that game, so it won’t be 4pm. Tell you what, for sure, I’ll be posting on D-Led’s column on the 27 Sep 2010. That will save all of the, “Are you going to be here on Monday?” questions that will be invariably asked.

Bird Dog

July 25th, 2010
9:14 am

My question is do Aints fans have bags on their heads when they are at their computer talking trash?

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
9:22 am

Bird Dog: I don’t, but I can’t speak for all Saints fans. Why, do you wear one when you’re on the computer?

Shockey versus Gonzalez? Emmm, Shockey.
David Thomas versus Peele? Emmm, Thomas.
Jimmy Graham versus Zinger, Palmer or Peek? No question about it: Graham!

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
9:32 am

rekingball- how many superbowl td catches does gonzo have? how many does shockey have? i know it’s an unfair question as shockey has been on 2 superbowl caliber teams and gonzo has been on 2 comedy shows

rekingball

July 25th, 2010
10:27 am

4pm, 26 Sep 2010.

CPat16

July 25th, 2010
10:52 am

Tight Ends

Gonzalez: Right End
Peele: Left End
Peek: 3rd End
Palmer: Practice Squad
Zinger: Adios……………

Whopper Dawg

July 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Ledbetter, is that all you got?

I thought you were supposed to be covering the team. That is embarrassing.

FALCONS SORRY

July 25th, 2010
11:56 am

IF U THANK THATS EMBARASIG JES WATE TIL WEAK 6!!! HAW HAW HAW HALE NAW!!!

FalconsFan284

July 25th, 2010
11:58 am

Seen and Hiram——Shockey is so good that his numbers for last year read; 48 receptions for 569 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is a very good mediocre tight end. Need I also point out that Shockey has never been known for his blocking ability?

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
12:07 pm

Shockey’s numbers are down simply because Brees and Payton spread the ball around. You must be the only NFL fan in America that doesn’t know that. Shockey is also known for being around when a pass completion Needs to be made.

FalconsFan284

July 25th, 2010
12:49 pm

Seen—-Perhaps you can explain why Shockey was targeted only 11 times in the red zone last season? Wait I know. Jeremy Shockey is so good that Brees uses him as the fourth or fifth best option in the red zone! If we shrink the red zone down to inside the 5 yard line then Shockey had a very impressive 3 targets. He did manage to convert 1 of them into a touchdown though.
See the problem with you, and most Saints fans here, is that you say the dumbest possible thing you can think of and then you try to insult people that point out your obvious mistakes. You have my sympathy, as I am sure that you believe some of the garbage you type.
Next time, perhaps you could try doing some research. Research like; did you know, TG’s numbers from last year would rate as Shockey’s 2nd best season? Or, did you know, Shockey has never played a full 16 game schedule? Or, did you know Shockey was rated as the 16th tight end statistically last season; TG was 4th? Or, did you know Shockey has NEVER had more than 900 yards and 7 touchdowns in a season? I bet you didn’t. If you’re lucky Shockey may end up in the Hall of the Very Average!

DePlane

July 25th, 2010
1:02 pm

I get such a kick out of the Aint fans spending all their time on our blogs! They are so funny! Whenever I need a good laugh I read their posts :) .

As far as DOL’s post, what do you want? TE is a position that is the least of our worries….not much to report on there at the moment.

DePlane

July 25th, 2010
1:03 pm

284…way to break it down. These guys are dreaming if they think Shockey will ever bring the consistency and leadership to their football team that TG brings to the Falcons.

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
1:23 pm

284- if gonzo had good #’s it’s because ryan, when he wasn’t being sacked or throwing picks , had only 2 recievers to go to. obviously his #’s will be good , good enough in fact for a 9-7 season. the saints on the other hand had multiple targets and all were used. again as i said earlier we have a team- not individuals which is why we’re a championship team and the falcants are a 9-7 stay home and watch the playoffs from their sofa sit-com.

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

to answer a question 284 – shockey was only targeted with those apprx. #’s beacause we also have bush , thomas x 2 ,colston , henderson , meachem ,and moore all of whom can catch and did catch. i’m surprised with your extensive knowledge of other teams that you could not extrapilate that

Vick Supporter

July 25th, 2010
1:57 pm

Atlanta Falcons: 7-9

Misses Mike Kenn

July 25th, 2010
1:58 pm

TG was great in the passing game last season, but he left a lot to be desired as a blocker. It’s obvious to me that Mularkey’s offense requires a dominant blocking TE and they missed Ben Hartsock last season. It was no coincidence that the Falcons’ run game took a while to get going and the Jets’ excelled. Hartsock is a difference maker and as long as the Falcons have a run first approach, they need a dominant blocker at TE.

Ezcofalconfan

July 25th, 2010
2:08 pm

Humm even with a 9-7 season we lost 3 games cause of our kicker who we finally got rid of when it was to late… Just expect the falcons to give the saints a hard time this comin up season… If yall do this same this year as yall did the last, I’ll admit yall aren’t a one year wonder team.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
2:25 pm

284: I think you like to make up what you want, that’s your problem.

I said that TG had a stellar career.

Sure I said the sun was setting on that career, but hell, I bet even TG would say that too.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
2:28 pm

Ezcofalconfan: That’s ah, really going out on a limb there.

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
2:28 pm

B4 i believe your exactly right on that – sort of selective mindset. anyway gotta go watch the saints/ cards on nfl replay —later

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
2:33 pm

Yup, me too. You falcant fans should not watch this replay, unless you’re the fearless type. I think that would rule most of you out. After the first play from scrimmage, it’s all Saints.

Iceman

July 25th, 2010
2:34 pm

Tony G is probably the healthiest man in the league, so I say YES.

JJ

July 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

Profootballfocus.com

Saints lovers, plz ck out the reviews on TE. I’ll help, click on positions, then TE, then 25% thru all.

Where pray tell does binge drinking shockey compare to HOF Gonzalez? Try some facts before blogging. Idiots, go back to your cesspool!!!

JJ

July 25th, 2010
2:49 pm

TG- ranked 6th in the league, regardless of # snaps.

Shockey- 14th (25%), 29th against all TE, woohoo!

D. Thomas- 15th (25%), 33rd against all TE, stellar!

Peele- 19th (25%), 42nd against all TE.

CaliDirtyBird

July 25th, 2010
2:49 pm

I remember the year after the Bucs won their SB, they were all over our blogs… And well… We haven’t heard much from them since. The reason these Aints fans are here is they see the Falcons as the Biggest threat to their dear Saints. So thank you for the validation! Not that we needed it.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
2:50 pm

JJ: TG is almost old enough to be Shockey’s grandfather. Let’s compare numbers when they are both done with their respective careers.

Let me quote you: “Try some facts before blogging.”

And you’re making things up too, cause I just scanned the entire HOF roster, and TG is not there either.

And ah, you don’t display much of a semblance to an educated gentleman yourself, so you let me quote you again, “Idiot, go back to your cesspool.”

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
2:55 pm

CaliDirtyBird: Well, it’s a given that the falcants are #2 in the division, the sucs and canthers are obviously in rebuilding mode. The falcants are the biggest threat in the division to the Saints, that’s true, but still a secondary type threat. The real threats to the Saints are the vikings, cowboys and packers.

JJ

July 25th, 2010
3:03 pm

B4, tks, your response proved my theorem. No more fishing today.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
3:05 pm

JJ, at least you have the sense to walk away. Take it easy.

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
3:10 pm

wow are y’all watchin’ shockey and d. thomas against the cards? now thats a nice pair of tight ends LOL

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
3:12 pm

hiramsaint: Yeah, the cards thought they were ready for that game. “They weren’t ready!”

hiramsaint

July 25th, 2010
3:22 pm

kinda like another team i know that will remain nameless

ryan

July 25th, 2010
3:26 pm

The Falcons had chances to make Matt Ryan better you had Brandon Marshal and Anquain Boldin out there Jenkins is not a number 2 WR

CaliDirtyBird

July 25th, 2010
3:29 pm

Fearless? Please, I’ve rewatched both of games against the Saints and well they barely beat our backup QB by a field goal and we lost by 8 in the first one with a kicker missing 2 field goals. We still had a chance under two minutes against your “Almighty Saints”! Please?!

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2010
3:39 pm

CaliDirtyBird: The falcants had a chance at the end cause Payton had taken the foot off the offensive pedal.

FalconsFan284

July 25th, 2010
3:41 pm

Seen—-All you need to do is go over to ESPN’s website and see the numbers for yourself.