Who will start at tight end for the Atlanta Falcons?


The Atlanta Falcons have yet to find a top of the line replacement for Tony Gonzalez after his departure in 2013. It’s hard to replace a player who will be inducted into the hall-of-fame on his first try, but the Falcons have failed to even provide a serviceable player since him.

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The Falcons had high hopes for tight end,

Levine Toilolo

when they drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft. The hopes were for Gonzalez to mentor Toilolo for in his rookie season and be ready to fly high for Atlanta in 2014. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case whatsoever.

Toilolo has one thing going for him, his size. Standing at 6-8, Toilolo is the tallest tight end in the NFL. But, the huge downfall to him is that he can’t catch very well. Time after time we saw Toilolo drop easy passes. If you’re like me, I almost cringed every time Matt Ryan threw him the ball, fearing that he would find a way to mess it up.

So for that very reason, new Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn and Scott Pioli decided to bring in some competition at the tight end position. And with that said, Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki were signed by the Falcons very shortly after.

When looking at these three names, it is quite obvious who many people want to see starting at tight end for the

Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons. Tamme has the most experience out of the three, and has proven himself as a reliable target. But, is it already a done deal? Was Tamme awarded the starting job as soon as he signed on the dotted line?

Tamme is known for being Peyton Manning‘s right hand man. Wherever Manning went, Tamme went. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 NFL draft, same year as Ryan, but had an extremely slow start to his career. In his first two NFL seasons, Tamme missed just four games, but recorded only six catches for 47 yards

But, in his third year in 2010, Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns. Tamme was targeted a whopping, 93 times that year, one of the highest in the league for a tight end.

Tamme had finally made it, right? Well, not so fast. In 2011, Tamme regressed mightily. He caught just 19 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown. Something didn’t make a lot sense here but it’s quite obvious what had happened. His right hand man, Manning missed all of the 2011 season due to injury, hence the regression!

Heading into 2012, Manning decided to take his talents to South Beach, whoops I meant Mile High to play for the Denver Broncos. And guess who came with him? Tamme.

In 2012 with the pair reunited, Tamme caught 52 passes for 555 yards and two touchdowns. Since then however, Tamme’s numbers have decreased mainly due to the fact that Manning has a ton of weapons at his disposal in Denver.

So here we are. Tamme has finally left Manning for Ryan and the Falcons. Many believe he still has a lot to give at 30 years old. He hasn’t ever had a big work load and was never asked to do a lot while with the Colts or Broncos which is perfect for his situation for the Falcons. So, like I said, is it set in stone that he is the opening day starter? Lets take a look at the other two men up close before we determine that.

Nov 27, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Tony Moeaki (88) is defended by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox (20) on a 63-yard reception in the second quarter of the Thanksgiving game at Levi

Moeaki is a very interesting player. He started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 and caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. But, in 2011, Moeaki suffered an injury and missed all of his second season. In 2012, he returned to form and hauled in 33 receptions for 453 yards and one touchdown. But, luck would not be on his side as another injury in 2013 led to his release. He did not play a single snap in 2013 and was signed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Moeaki was used very sparingly in 2014 and only appeared in six games. He caught just eight passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.

The 28-year-old has already missed two full NFL seasons since coming into the league in 2010, but still has very fresh legs and could make a big impact for the Falcons.

Now to our favorite tight end, Toilolo. In his rookie season, he caught just 11 passes for 55 yards, but found the endzone twice. In 2014 as a full time starter, he caught 31 passes for 238 yards and again found the endzone two times.

Out of these three players, who do you want to see win the starting job in training camp?

My pick is Tamme. I was on location at Falcons minicamp in June and saw great things from Tamme. He has tremendous hands and at this point should easily win the starting job, but don’t count out Moeaki or Toilolo at this point.