Posts Tagged ‘Gallarda’

Training Camp: Day 9 Report

August 5th, 2013 Comments off

Today the Falcons are practicing against the Cincinnati Bengals, which they will be doing again on Tuesday. Roddy White indicated that there has been a firm no fighting rule when it comes to the joint practices. Here are the notes that emerged from Sunday’s practices:

  • Daniel Cox gives his five observations from Day 9, including Desmond Trufant’s progress, Mike Smith’s relationship with Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, and the Falcons plans for the upcoming preseason game against the Bengals.
  • The team’s official site has a transcript from Mike Smith’s post-practice interview. In it, Smith shed a bit more light on Tommy Gallarda’s injury, indicating that it was indeed a shoulder injury that was comparable to what he suffered last season that led him to injured reserve.

    Unfortunately, Tommy had a shoulder injury, a very close injury that he had in November last year that caused him to go on IR.

  • The AJC interviewed safety Thomas DeCoud, discussing his camp so far, his conditioning, and his thoughts and expectations on some of the other cornerbacks on the roster.
  • Undrafted receiver Rashad Evans got work with fielding punts during practice. At least for Sunday, he ostensibly replaced Dominique Franks on the unit.

Falcons add TE; release Gallarda

August 4th, 2013 Comments off

The Falcons announced the signing of tight end Tim Biere today. He will be replacing tight end Tommy Gallarda on the roster, as the team reached an injury settlement with Gallarda. Gallarda suffered an injury during the Falcons Friday Night Lights event, apparently a dislocated shoulder according to one observer. Gallarda’s 2012 season was cut short by a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve as well.

Biere was an undrafted free agent out of Kansas in 2012. He signed last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was released at the end of camp. Biere at 6-4, 260 pounds was a productive pass catcher in Kansas’ spread attack, catching 66 passes for 798 yards (12.1 avg) and 6 touchdowns over his four-year career. He also added value as a blocker earlier in his career, before his role shifted towards being more of a pass-catcher.

Injury settlements are an agreement between team and an injured player, which allows for the players’ release without having to go on injured reserve. The terms of Gallarda’s settlement are unknown. The nature of settlements and why teams use them are explained very well here. Gallarda’s departure likely solidifies the grip of both Chase Coffman and Levine Toilolo as the backups behind Tony Gonzalez at tight end.

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Camp Battles 2013: Tight End

July 15th, 2013 Comments off
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY

Levine Toilolo’s summer could shape tight end group

The Falcons got a huge break when sixteen-year veteran Tony Gonzalez opted not to hang up the cleats for good and give it one more go in Atlanta. Gonzalez entered the 2012 season leaving the door open for a 5% chance that he might return in 2013. The Falcons will get no such sliver of hope for 2014, as he is adamant that this year will be his last in the NFL. But the Falcons hope to take full advantage of the last hurrah of Gonzo by getting him to the Super Bowl.

Gonzalez’s status could potentially earn him a pass for much of training camp, but that won’t be the case. But the Falcons probably will probably minimize how much of a workload he does this summer. That should open up opportunities for his reserves, where all of the competition will come.

The absence of Gonzalez throughout the off-season allowed the team to get a long look at Chase Coffman, who is the incumbent. Coffman is a capable receiver, but has struggled to stick in the pros due to lackluster blocking. For him to retain his spot as the top backup behind Gonzalez, will likely mean that he’ll have to show the Falcons that he is competent as a blocker. If not, then the spot will be ripe for the taking from another.

Tommy Gallarda is in a prime position to take that spot. He is considered the team’s most polished blocker, and prior to suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last November was effective in that role. But he won’t be the only blocker that will be taking reps this summer.

The player the Falcons really want to see emerge as Gonzalez’s top backup will be rookie fourth round pick Levine Toilolo. Toilolo performed primarily as a blocker over the past two seasons at Stanford. He has excellent size and speed that the Falcons will hope to develop in the future. But first and foremost to earn reps in 2013, he’ll need to hit the ground running as a blocker. He possesses good tools and potential there, but he can be inconsistent at times and not as physical as you’d like. Coffman’s chances of making the roster increase if Toilolo proves to be a capable blocker, as the Falcons probably won’t seek to have redundant players with him and Gallarda.

Also in the mix will be Colin Cloherty, a late offseason addition. Cloherty played for Koetter in Jacksonville in 2011. Like Coffman, he’s more of a receiver than blocker, albeit a bit more undersized. He can push Coffman for the potential H-back role. Helping Cloherty is the fact that he proved to be an adept cover man on special teams during his limited opportunities. If he can shine there this summer, that may be a better avenue to making the final 53-man roster than anything he could do offensively.

Andrew Szczerba sits currently as a dark horse, but he was impressive last summer for the Dallas Cowboys. And his size, strength, and potential as a blocker does give him a legitimate opportunity to earn a roster spot. He just seems unlikely at this point to leap frog both Gallarda and Toilolo in that regard to win a spot, but stranger things have happened in Falcons training camps in the past.

A remote possibility also exists that the Falcons aren’t quite done at this position if things don’t break their way by the end of camp. Between the four of them, all of the tight ends not named Tony Gonzalez have combined for just 10 career catches in the NFL. Particularly if Toilolo has a lackluster preseason, the Falcons might explore adding veteran options at the end of summer to shore up the No. 2 spot. What limited snaps the second tight end is likely to get in 2013 will be primarily be as a blocker. And if the Falcons are unhappy with the progress of the young guys, they could seek options elsewhere.

Camp Battles 2012: Tight Ends

July 14th, 2012 Comments off
Getty Images

Michael Palmer

The tight end position should feature some heavy competition throughout training camp for the Falcons, as the team looks to expand its depth behind long-time starter Tony Gonzalez.

The team made the decision to bring Gonzalez back for one more year last January, a smart decision considering his future Hall of Fame status. But one of the weaknesses of the Falcons position is that they do not have great depth behind Gonzalez. His heir apparent as the team’s future starter is currently not viewed to be on the roster. And part of the competition in camp will be to show if any viable long-term options emerge.

The most likely candidate will be Michael Palmer, who will get the first training camp of his career where he is largely untested for his roster position. Palmer will be a focus of this year’s camp. How well he performs as Gonzalez’s primary backup could determine how much trust this team has in their depth at the position. While Palmer isn’t currently viewed as a potential replacement for Gonzalez due to the sharp drop-off in receiving abilities, a strong summer could force the Falcons to reconsider their long-term prospects of Palmer’s future. He is seen mostly as a blocker and has been used that way each of the past two seasons, but that could change if he can have a strong summer as a receiver particularly if he gets more work with the first team units than in previous summers.

The brunt of the competition will come behind Palmer where the Falcons have multiple candidates competing for what will likely be the third and final spot on the depth chart. Tommy Gallarda, a second-year player, is the most experienced of the group having spent the majority of last year on the Falcons practice squad. The fact that he spent time in Jacksonville’s training camp last summer where Dirk Koetter got a good look at him should give him a leg up from the others in terms of making the roster. Gallarda is a blocker first, which is likely the role the Falcons envision for the third guy on the depth chart.

But he will face competition from undrafted rookies LaMark Brown, Adam Nissley, and Aron White. Brown is a converted former running back and receiver that has good athleticism and speed. But he’s undersized for a tight end at 228 pounds, and will have to showcase his receiving potential as an H-back. Nissley excelled at blocking at Central Florida and with his size he could push for a role there. White is an athletic tight end that worked primarily as a blocker for Georgia, but that was in part because of the other talent they had at the position. All three players have solid chance to make the practice squad and potentially the roster.

Even if any of the untested players make the roster the Falcons might minimize their playing time, instead opting to use a third tackle on gamedays to function as the extra blocker in jumbo packages. This is what the Falcons often did in 2010 when Palmer was a rookie, utilizing Will Svitek in that role. It’s also possible that when cuts begin in late August, the team will begin to scour the waiver wire for a more proven veteran, similarly to what they did a year ago by picking up Reggie Kelly during camp. The team already worked out veteran Daniel Graham in June, indicating that they understand there are some question marks at the position. Depending on how things play out in camp and the preseason will determine if those questions are answered down the line.

Falcons add eight for next year

January 9th, 2012 Comments off

The team announced the signing of six players off their practice squad to future contracts today. Those players include wide receiver Drew “D.J.” Davis, tight ends Tommy Gallarda and Ryan Winterswyk, offensive tackle Kyle Jolly, and safeties Matt Hansen and Suaesi Tuimaunei. That follows up two moves the team made last week with signing a pair of long snappers: Corey Adams and Scott Albritton.

Davis, Winterswyk, Hansen, and Tuimaunei were all undrafted free agents signed with the team this summer. Davis spent the entire year on the team’s practice squad. Winterswyk was added in November after the team released him with an injury settlement at the end of training camp. Tuimaunei was added in October, and Hansen just before the final week of the season. Gallarda was an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and was picked up by the Falcons on their practice squad in September. He was cut at the end of November, but then re-signed to the practice squad prior to the final game of the season.

Adams was an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State that signed with the Dallas Cowboys this past summer, before being cut at the end of camp. Albritton was an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State for the Houston Texans this past summer, but was cut at the end of camp. He spent two days on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster after Week 1, but was released before he could play in a game.