Matt Ryan: We don’t need Levine Toilolo to be Tony Gonzalez

The Falcons started their offseason workouts this week and got to work without one of their key offensive players from recent years.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez averaged 81.8 catches, 837.4 yards and 7 touchdowns over his five seasons with the Falcons, but he’s retired to become a television commentator. That leaves an inexperienced group of tight ends on the roster led by the 6-8 Levine Toilolo, who caught 11 passes during his rookie season. There’s no doubt that the Falcons are looking for more growth from Toilolo in his second NFL campaign, but quarterback Matt Ryan was quick to point out that they aren’t asking him to do the impossible.

“We don’t need him to be Tony,” Ryan said, via the team’s website. “We need him to be the best Levine Toilolo he can be.”

While the Falcons are rightly hopeful that wide receiver Julio Jones’ return to the lineup will boost the offense, the loss of Gonzalez’s production is tough to overstate for a team that made such frequent use of his talents. Toilolo probably isn’t going to turn into the second coming of one of the best tight ends in the history of the game overnight, but he’ll help a tremendous amount if he can develop into a productive starter even as the Falcons offense evolves next season.

12 responses to “Matt Ryan: We don’t need Levine Toilolo to be Tony Gonzalez

  1. Its my understanding that Gonzales hasn’t actually retired yet. That is the reason that the Falcons had to cut him, so that he wouldn’t count against their roster.

    It’s been speculated before (i believe even on this site) that he could now latch on to a contender late in the offseason or early in the regular season.

  2. At 6’8″ he still provides a nice safety valve if he can show he has good hands. I’m excited to see what he can do, although I wish the lines weren’t such a wreck so drafting Ebron could make more sense.

  3. Nope. They need white to be healthy, Jones to play 16 games, and Douglas to be the slot guy. Harry Douglas could be the Tony Gonzalez replacement, but they will need to strengthen their offensive line to take care of the blocking.

  4. Matt Ryan makes me laugh. As if he knows anything about football.
    Don’t worry Mattie, Meek Smith will give you every opportunity to choke. As. usual.

  5. Funny how people dog Matt….worse line in the Nfl…Julio out, White hurt all year, make shift Off line, Jackson out, Starting LT out, hit more than any other QB in the league….yet he finishes 4th in yards….26 Td’s and 68% completion!! SMH….Learn the game!!

  6. No, what you need is a defense, a new head coach and a GM who knows what he is doing. Hello, NFC South cellar (again).

  7. Tony G has a big name but if you watched him last year he half assed routes, his lack of speed was very noticeable, he dropped passes, I’m glad he’s no longer taking that much cap.

  8. I’ll take Gonzalez for the one season with no camp over insisting he attend camp and have him retire.
    The issues that created 4-12 are listed above. Gonzalez missing camp is not one of them, nor should it be.
    This is specific to a 17 year player who is in playing shape 12 months of the year.

    Toilolo should be able to be a valuable TE with he in Douglas picking up Gonzalez’ catches. If not he is a blown pick by the GM. Hopefully, all the former GM’s now serving as assistants reduce the number of TD’s draft errors.

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