On Friday, Tim Ryan of Fox Sports joined The Finsiders for a preview of Sunday’s showdown at Sun Life Stadium between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons.
The most prominent point of the discussion was that of the tight end position on both sides.
On Miami’s end, the Dolphins appear to have a versatile player quietly on the rise in Charles Clay. And Ryan had lofty words of praise for the young H-back.
“I think the wild card out of all of them, and nobody is talking about this dude—Charles Clay,” Ryan said. “If that guy stays healthy, I’m telling you, his versatility and the upside for that guy as a player—he’s gotten better as a blocker, but as a receiver and doing some of the things—I don’t want to get way too far ahead of myself, he’s got Antonio Gates-like release stuff when he’s coming off the line of scrimmage when he’s flexed out. It’s hard to stay with him.”
Atlanta, on the other hand, has one of the greatest to ever play the position in Tony Gonzalez.
And that’s cause for concern for the Dolphins, who have had issues covering tight ends over the past few years. That trend has continued throughout the first two games, with Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron and Indianapolis’ Coby Fleener having a considerable amount of success against Miami.
Ryan, a former NFL defensive lineman, gave his thoughts on how Kevin Coyle’s defense can best go about containing the Falcons’ veteran tight end.
“Any time Tony Gonzalez is the end man on the line of scrimmage, and that means a traditional tight end role, get your hands on him,” Ryan said. “To give Tony Gonzalez a free release as the end man on the line of scrimmage, it’s a crime against your defense. You can’t do it.
“Now, when he’s flexed out, which he does a good portion of the time, it’s hard to do that. Then you have to start talking about some bracket coverages and different things on Tony Gonzalez. Tony is not going to get open in terms of running away from guys. Tony is a power forward. He runs at the linebacker, he stops his feet, turns ones way, pivots the other, posts up like he’s calling for the ball down on the block. Matt Ryan knows that’s his game and he delivers the ball.”
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