After going without a catch last week against the Ravens, tight end Tony Gonzalez paced the Falcons in the first quarter Thursday night with four catches for 44 yards, including a long of 21 yards. Like many players, the tight end is still knocking off the preseason rust, but it didn't take much for him and quarterback Matt Ryan to get in sync.
"The first catch I ran the wrong route so I think that made a big difference to still hook up on it," Gonzalez said. "That's just the way this offense is going to go all year. That's the beauty of it when you have players like Julio (Jones) and Roddy (White) and Harry Douglas outside I think the defense has to operate in man-to-man defense and Matt is just going to throw it to whoever is open. That's the way it will be all year."
Gonzalez averaged 14.7 yards per catch in his one quarter of work before giving way to backup Michael Palmer. The future Hall of Famer is impressed with his young quarterback's hot start to this preseason.
"He's always been a really, really good player but I think he's starting to make that jump to becoming a great player, and one of the upper echelon players of the league. I think that comes with maturity and the simple state-of-mind offense that Dirk (Koetter) brought in here coupled with the players he has around him."