Gonzalez's vision for the Atlanta offense is coming around

The SportsXchange

When Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter gathered with the players over the offseason, he shared his vision, goals and objections for the new offense.

Through five games, the offense is working how Koetter and the players envisioned.

Washington became the latest team forced to make a choice on how to defend against the Falcons' potent offense. In Week 4, Carolina elected to double-cover wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez, allowing Roddy White to break loose for eight catches, 169 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington played zone and kept a defender over the top of Jones and White. That left Gonzalez free to roam against man-to-man coverage.

He amassed 13 catches for 123 yards and a key touchdown in the second quarter.

"This is what we envisioned as an offense," Gonzalez said. "You never know who is going to get it week in and week out."

He finished one reception shy of his career high. He caught 14 passes against the San Diego Chargers when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 2, 2005.

"When you have guys like Roddy and Julio outside, you saw anytime that we threw the ball deep, there were two or three guys around them," Gonzalez said. "That means I'm getting man-to-man coverage underneath. I've said that for most of my career, if I can get man-to-man coverage, I should be able to get open most of the time."

The former Cal-Berkeley basketball player looked as if he were posting up in the paint on a couple of his grabs.

"I'm just glad I could help out," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez continued to carve his name into the league's record books.

The touchdown reception was the 99th of his career, tying him with Don Hutson for eighth on the NFL's all-time list. Wide receivers Tim Brown and Steve Largent are next up on the list with 100 touchdown catches each.

Gonzalez, who's in his 16th year, has said he's pretty sure he'll retire after this season. But from Sunday's game, it's clear that his skills have not diminished.

"I've been thinking about retiring for the last three years," Gonzalez said. "That's not the question. I know I can play another two years at a pretty good level, but the window is closing. I'm having a blast. I'm not thinking about it."
View Comments