Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JOHN MANASSO  |  Last updated 10/17/13
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- At times this season Falcons future hall of fame tight end Tony Gonzalez has had to contend with some new tactics -- some legal and some perhaps not -- and varying officiating standards, which appear to have left him befuddled at times as to what in fact the rules are.At the conclusion of the Falcons' season-opening 23-17 loss at New Orleans, Saints defenders made their share of contact with Gonzalez, as they did for much of the game. Afterwards, Gonzalez said the Saints were holding him. New England copied that tactic in the Patriots' 30-23 win over the Falcons and the New York Jets tried the same thing. Essentially, opposing defenses were lining up two defenders at the line of scrimmage to hit Gonzalez as often as they could within five yards to disrupt his route and the timing of the Falcons' offense.The difference in the Jets game was that New York linebackers twice were called for defensive holding against Gonzalez. Falcons head coach Mike Smith clarified the rule on Thursday."Again, you can 'chuck' in the first five yards but you can only chuck one time," he said. "You can't chuck twice in the first five yards and you can't hold. You can't hold any time. So I think that there was definitely a different way that the game was officiated in the Jets game than in the previous game (against New England) and, again, as I mentioned we're all working to make the game as clean as can be. That's coaches, players, the league office, everybody."Gonzalez seemed perplexed by the rules as he addressed the media on Thursday. He said he felt as if he were the "gunner" on a punt coverage team who has two defenders hitting him the whole way down the field to try and prevent him from tackling the returner."I think it's illegal," Gonzalez said. "I don't know. I haven't seen it. I do know they called it right when I got to five yards, so if I do get to five yards, they're going to call it, it seems like, which is good news for me because thats no fun going out there and getting double teamed like that."Gonzalez was asked if the tactic was anything he could practice against."There's nothing you can do with that," he said. "There's one on either side of you. There's not much you can do. All I have to do is try to get to five yards and I think I can do that."The way Smith described it, it sounded as if the Falcons had brought the situation to the attention of the league, but Smith would not confirm that."Again, I'm not going to comment about anything," he said. "I'm just trying to clarify the rule there. The way I understand it's going to be officiated and how it was officiated differently in the New York Jet game."
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