The Falcons will be in Canton early next month to see former tight end Tony Gonzalez go into the Hall of Fame as well as play the Broncos in the first preseason game of the year.
The team hopes that game will kick off a season that sees their current tight end take a leap forward. Austin Hooper made the Pro Bowl last year after setting career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns and head coach Dan Quinn hopes to see those numbers go up again with Mike Mularkey on hand as Hooper’s position coach.
“Hooper, the improvement just keeps getting better,” Quinn said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Now, he’s ready to go to another level, and I’m looking forward to seeing him make that growth. The addition of having Mike here, he’s done everything that Mike has asked in terms of getting him ready. That connection has been good.”
Mularkey said that he believes Hooper can move into the ranks of elite tight ends in the league and Hooper said he plans to “be a sponge and absorb as much” knowledge as Mularkey can give him this year. Seeing that pay off would benefit the Falcons in the fall and it would benefit Hooper come the offseason as the 2016 third-rounder is playing out the final year of his rookie deal.