After giving up 44 sacks and allowing countless big hits on their franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons offensive line was the laughingstock of the NFL. Considered to be one of the worst in both pass protection and run blocking, bringing in Mike Tice was the perfect move by owner Arthur Blank.
Tice, the former offensive line coach and coordinator for the Chicago Bears and one-time head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, signed a two-year deal with the Falcons to become the offensive line coach.
Although Tice had his trials as the offensive coordinator, he excelled at being the offensive line coach for the Bears, where he got the most out of his players by being tough. Toughness has been a word that the Falcons hear all the time, and rightfully so. The team has not only lacked the physical toughness, but also mental toughness this past season.
The Falcons’ offensive line finished last in rushing yards per game, and allowed Ryan to be a human pinata for pretty much the duration of the 2013 season. Fortunately for the Falcons, the hiring of Tice is excellent due to his ability to turn a group of average players into something special. With Tice on board, the offensive line should become nastier and more aggressive. The Falcons proved to be very soft and too gentle, and Tice will make sure that his players understand what it means to be a lineman up front.
After suffering one of their worst seasons under coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are off to a good start in the offseason. With Tice on their team, the Falcons should expect a much better group that will protect Ryan from getting pummeled to the ground on a daily basis.