FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – When the Pro Bowl rosters are announced Friday, Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith fully expects a familiar name to be a part of the group.
Smith was asked if Tony Gonzalez should be named to his 14th Pro Bowl.
"Absolutely,’’ Smith said of the retiring tight end. "I think Tony’s had a great season. Don’t have to politic for him or campaign for him. I think his merits speak for themselves.’’
The 37-year-old Gonzalez was named to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons with the Falcons. He sarcastically inquired last week about his chances for this year’s game, as personal accolades are never his focus.
Here are the Falcons that are likely to get Pro Bowl consideration, Gonzalez included:
Tony Gonzalez, tight end: His 79 receptions are second best in the league among tight ends behind New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham (81). Gonzalez leads the Falcons with eight touchdown receptions and has touchdown catches in four consecutive games going into the regular-season finale.
William Moore, safety: A 2012 Pro Bowl pick, Moore leads the Falcons with 124 total tackles, is tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles, and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has two fumble recoveries to tie for the team lead.
Matt Bosher, punter: His 41-yard net punt average ranks sixth in the NFL. He has placed 24 punts inside the 20-yard line. Plus, Bosher has successfully helped execute three onside kicks, the most successful attempts since Neil Rackers (Arizona) in 2007.
Antone Smith, special teams: The diminutive special-teams ace as a gunner leads the Falcons with 10 special-teams tackles despite missing one game with a knee injury.