FLOWERY BRANCH – I spoke to Falcons tight end Michael Palmer shortly after he returned from Serbia on a mission trip.
We chatted about his work and then a little football. He told me — (I covered him when he used to smash those Brookwood Broncos when he was at Parkview) — that he had improved his strength and in-line blocking.
Falcons coach Mike Smith confirmed that after Thursday’s practice and declared Palmer was the team’s No. 1 blocking tight end, a position that Reggie Kelly held last season.
The Falcons flirted with bringing in a veteran blocking tight end. They held a workout for 10-year veteran Daniel Graham. However, they are pleased with Palmer’s progress as a blocker.
Palmer, a former Clemson standout who made the team as an undrafted player, has picked up some route-running tips from Tony Gonzalez.
“He understands how to sit down in zones,” Smith said. “When you play behind a guy like Tony Gonzalez, if you have a fairly good skill set, you’re going to learn a whole lot. Michael has taken advantage of learning behind Tony.”
Palmer shined in the red-zone practice session. He caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone.
“Michael had made some very nice catches,” Smith said. “Michael is very athletic.”
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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog