Friday, April 24, 2009
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I was probably the only person in the Metro area (other that my brother Dan) who heard yesterday that the Falcons had acquired Tony Gonzalez and thought to myself: "Excellent! Now we have a star tight end who shares a name with the assassin who killed the Havelocks at the start of For Your Eyes Only before getting an arrow in the back from their vengeful daughter." For the same reasons, I'll miss Mark Sanchez at USC because he reminded me of Robert Davi every time he dropped back to pass and then I would think of Talisa Soto.
Hopefully, Gonzalez will arrive without the proverbial arrow sticking out of his back. I'm usually skeptical of the local teams acquiring big name players on the tail ends of their careers. When a team does that, it's usually acquiring the name and the salary, but not necessarily the talent. That said, Gonzalez's numbers last year were very good. Football Outsiders' numbers ranked him as the best tight end in the NFL on an aggregate basis. He wasn't quite as good on a per play basis, but one would expect that that is a result of Gonzalez having to catch passes from Tyler Thigpen and therefore having to make more difficult grabs than Martellus Bennett, who finished #1 on a per play basis after a year of catching passes from Tony Romo and benefiting from coverages drawn to Terrell Owens and Jason Witten.
The best aspect of this move is that it allows the Falcons to concentrate 100% on the defense with their early round picks. There are a host of holes to be filled on that side of the ball. Come to think of it, there isn't a single position where you could say that the Falcons are set. Maybe middle linebacker with Curtis Lofton? That said, if Rey Maualuga fell to the Falcons, they'd be foolish not to take him. I'd be happy with any of the USC linebackers, especially Brian Cushing because that would set me up for a fall of horrendous Grand Moff Tarkin jokes. You may stuff the runner when ready...you're far too trusting, Drew Brees...Lofton, release him! I'm tingling right now.