FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons signed tight end Tommy Gallarda to the practice squad last September after Marquez Branson suffered a dislocated knee cap.
Gallarda, 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, was originally signed as a college free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. He was a four-year letterman at Boise State, where he had 25 receptions for 257 yards and nine touchdowns.
Gallarda used his time on the practice squad to improve and he made the roster cut down to 53 players.
“You want consistency,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “That’s all you can ask of any player is that you get the same guy every day. Then you try to put them in position to play to their strengths and avoid their weaknesses.”
Gallarda will backup Tony Gonzalez and Michael Palmer. He will be primarily used as a blocker, but has flashed some more than capable hands in practice.
“You’ve got role players on every offense and all you can do is ask those guys to be consistent,” Koetter said.
Reggie Kelly was the team’s third tight end last season, while Gallarda was toiling away on the practice squad.
“Watching Tony every day, really helped out my learning curve,” Gallarda said. “I was able to carry that over to this year.”
He doesn’t plan to rest on his roster spot. He’s seen players come and go and plans to continue to improve.
“I’m more of a Y [blocking tight end],” Gallarda said. “I want to be good at both. I want to run routes and catch the ball. I can stand there and block in pass [protection]. I’m just trying to be balance and do everything.”
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