Atlanta Falcons: Both Lines Must Be Addressed Quickly
In their season finale, the Atlanta Falcons did everything in their power to send off perhaps one of the greatest tight ends of all time in Tony Gonzalez on a winning note. Although the Falcons fought valiantly, they came up just short. While both the offensive and defensive lines were getting embarrassed all day long against the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons are wasting no time in their offseason to address these issues.
If anybody watched the Falcons play against the feisty Panthers, one would have also witnessed a massacre happening right in front of them, as Matt Ryan looked like a ragged doll toy being torn apart into tiny pieces. On top of getting sacked a career-high 44 times, nine of those 44 sacks came from the Panthers’ defense, as they battered Ryan and sent him to the sidelines with a broken body with each sack. Outside of sacks, Mattie Ice was hit another 14 times.
If the offensive line wasn’t bad enough, the Falcons’ defensive line was the total opposite of the Panthers’ front four. Instead of going after Cam Newton and pressuring him all day, the play that said it all was when the Falcons allowed Newton all day long to throw a perfect spiral touchdown to his wide receiver without anyone close to him.
With offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn along with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton losing their jobs, the Falcons have made it clear from the very beginning that the play of both lines was just unacceptable and most importantly, unrepeatable. While the Falcons were denied permission to interview offensive line coach Jeff Davidson of the Minnesota Vikings, the Falcons are wasting no time looking for candidates that can help turn their weakest links into formidable units.
While the search continues for possible replacements, one coach that stood out is Mike Tice, a former coach and offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. It has been reported that Tice would love to reunite with coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, whom he has worked with during their Jacksonville Jaguar days. Tice would like to be the offensive line coach, as he has shown that he can get the most out of ordinary guys.
No matter whom the Falcons decide to bring in, they better hope that Ryan will be protected much better going into 2014 season, or else the $100 million quarterback will be spending his days on a hospital bed.