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Matt Ryan Confident In Tight End Toilolo


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http://espn.go.com/b...ght-end-toilolo

As Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan stood in front of the podium for the first time since the end of last season, naturally the question of life without Tony Gonzalez was brought up.

Rather than sulk about the loss of his good friend Gonzalez to retirement, Ryan looked ahead to another year of growth by second-year tight end Levine Toilolo.

"Obviously, you're not going to replace Tony," Ryan said Tuesday. "I mean, it's not going to happen. And that's no slight. It didn't matter who walks in that door. You're just not going to be able to do that. And that's OK.

"We don't need [Toilolo] to be Tony. We need him to be the best Levine Toilolo that he can be."

Toilolo, a former fourth-round pick from Stanford, had just 11 catches for 55 yards with two touchdowns as a rookie in spot duty behind Gonzalez. But Gonzalez's limited practice time during the 2013 campaign -- primarily due to a toe injury -- allowed Toilolo to get plenty of first-team reps in practice.

Ryan discussed continuing to develop a chemistry with the young tight end.

"Just the open dialogue between myself and Levine, talking about certain things," Ryan said. "Talking about my vision for some of the things I think he does well, and some of the things are different from what Tony did. I think that position will probably look a little bit different for us."

Toilolo previously acknowledged how he studied Gonzalez's work habits and had hoped to carry the same approach to the game. At 6-foot-8, there's no disputing his capabilities as a red-zone target. But Toilolo understands he needs to refine some aspects of his game, particularly blocking.

In terms of the tight end position as a whole, the Falcons could move away from making it a focal point of the offense, with more emphasis on the wide receivers, particularly with Julio Jones coming back and Roddy White a lot healthier than he was last season.

The Falcons still have gotten a close look at some tight end prospects, including Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz, and Georgia's Arthur Lynch. But it doesn't appear as if they're approaching the draft with the mindset of securing a starting tight end.

Toilolo should get plenty of opportunity to secure the starting the job. And it wouldn't be a surprise if Mickey Shuler gets a shot to contribute as well.

Ryan noted how Toilolo's physical makeup has changed for the better.

"I think Levine looks as good as he has since he's been here," Ryan said. "I think he's put on a little bit of weight, put some weight in the right spot, which has been good. But there's going to be a lot of work between he and I on the practice field and off the practice field.

"Some of that started last year. Tony didn't pratice all the time, which he didn't need to. Trust me. But with that said, I got to get a lot of work with Levine in practice situations during training camp last year. And I think that helped him have success in his rookie year. And I think that's going to help us heading into Year 2. We're so much further along then we were at the beginning of training camp last year, so I'm fired up about that."

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Guest facelessman07

Well what exactly do you expect him to say?

He also expressed "confidence" in our offensive line last year lmao. It's all corporate bs talk

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Guest facelessman07

I don't really consider it "bishing", but rather trying to find the truth in what he's saying. Obviously you have to filter out a lot of what he says.

I like to look at things optimistically too Tuggie Bear, but when it comes to the Atlanta Falcons I'm a realist. This team got my hopes up several times till I learned to look at things objectively

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I don't really consider it "bishing", but rather trying to find the truth in what he's saying. Obviously you have to filter out a lot of what he says.

I like to look at things optimistically too Tuggie Bear, but when it comes to the Atlanta Falcons I'm a realist. This team got my hopes up several times till I learned to look at things objectively

Teams been bashing my hopes into the ground for nearly 35 years. Still won't catch me complaining about our QB saying he's been working out with our new TE. lol

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Guest facelessman07

Teams been bashing my hopes into the ground for nearly 35 years. Still won't catch me complaining about our QB saying he's been working out with our new TE. lol

Oh I'm not complaining that he's working out with our TE, or for that matter the rest of our players. What kind of fan would I be then? My point is that you have to take everything they say with a grain of salt. This orgo has been talking the talk for awhile, now time to show us fans the WALK

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I don't really consider it "bishing", but rather trying to find the truth in what he's saying. Obviously you have to filter out a lot of what he says.

I like to look at things optimistically too Tuggie Bear, but when it comes to the Atlanta Falcons I'm a realist. This team got my hopes up several times till I learned to look at things objectively

oooo edgy
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Just curious, but how is saying "what is he supposed to say" whining?

Its still a good article, but he's right. Its not like Ryan is going to say "he is god awful. I hate this dbag"

Who said whining? I said "bishing" fool! lol

I only meant it as jeez people, we're info starved. It's nice to hear they're working out. Just seems like the Eeyore bug is floating around.

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Who said whining? I said "bishing" fool! lol

I only meant it as jeez people, we're info starved. It's nice to hear they're working out. Just seems like the Eeyore bug is floating around.

I was more referring to romfal saying crying and whambulance lol

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I don't know why people are so negative about Lolo. He played with very little opportunities to actually do anything; Sitting behind TG, being at best our 4'th receiving option on any given play while Ryan had less than two seconds to throw the ball...

And after all that he still made plays. Heck he caught as many TD's as HD did last year, and he was our #1 WR the majority of the year. I can only recall him dropping a single pass and he even got YAC, when he had no business to. I think he showed a lot.

And to the people going on about the corporate speak, If that was all this was Ryan would have said a few common, run of the mill sentences and left it. It seems like he went on in length about how excited he is about Lolo though, i wouldn't shrug it off so quickly.

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Guest facelessman07

I don't see it with Toilolo. I think he will be average, we refuse to accept it and pass on upgrading him next season, being headstrong, and wait until it's pressing to replace him.

I agree, which is why I think we need to look strongly at these TE's available in the draft

Worst case scenario-we draft a TE, Toilolo surprises everyone, and we end up having 2 good go-to TE's. Not a bad problem to have

Edited by facelessman07
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I don't see how we can ignore the position in the draft. Yes, there are some late-rounder's that have potential. Yes LOLO will play a role. I just think we can find value and a key TE player at round 3 better than any 3rd round safety. We need more than one TE let's draft a good one.

Edited by Ben Day Hoe
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