On Monday, Jan. 6, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank stressed the importance of toughness at the line of scrimmage. So on Wednesday, Jan. 8, the Falcons already made a big push in restoring that toughness with the confirmed hiring of its new offensive line coach, Mike Tice.
Tice has quite the resume for an NFL coach already, serving on the coaching staffs of three teams. He will bring 17 years of experience to this Falcons franchise. As the offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears in 2011, Tice’s o-line helped the running game flourish as it produced 2,015 rushing yards and also averaged a franchise best 4.4 yards per carry. Tice has also coached numerous linemen to multiple Pro Bowl appearances.
This is a fantastic hire for the Falcons. Of course one reason is he has demonstrated the ability to coach a successful unit up front, but mainly it’s because he already has commonality with Falcons head coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter which will definitely help this team turn things around more quickly. Koetter especially will appreciate this latest hiring as Tice’s presence on the sidelines alongside Koetter with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2007 resulted in them setting franchise records in points scored (411) and touchdowns (50). 2007 was also the year the Jags had success in the playoffs.
Tice will be that quintessential “tough guy” for this Falcons offensive line. According to ESPN, a former staff member of the Bears described Tice as one of the best assistant coaches out there and said “he didn’t take any crap.” So as long as Atlanta makes sure that Tice stays an assistant coach, things will be A-okay. I sense a much improved offensive unit for the 2014 regular season.