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Tice Wants O-Line To Be Falcons' Engine


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Friday, May 30, 2014

Tice wants O-line to be Falcons' engine

By Vaughn McClure

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It's interesting to see new Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice conduct a drill session.

He doesn't hold back with his foul language, of course. He constantly reminds his linemen not to dip with their helmets. And for as much as he might berate a player for making a mistake, that's how much Tice applauds the same player when he gets it right.

Tice's "tough love" works. And it's going to take plenty of it to help the Falcons' line transform into an asset rather than a liability.

It helps when you draft a NFL-ready player in right tackle Jake Matthews, a rookie Tice has constantly praised from the outset. Not to mention adding a solid veteran in right guard Jon Asamoah.

"The addition of Jon, the addition of Gabe [Carimi], and hopefully the growth of guys like [Ryan] Schraeder, and [Lamar] Holmes, and Joe Hawley taking that next step and Pete [Konz] becoming a better player, I think that makes you better," Tice said. "And then we'll see how it goes with some of these even younger guys like [Terren] Jones. We moved Adam [Replogle] over and he's getting better. I think we've got a good group."

But, as Tice put it, you can't really evaluate linemen in underwear, so there is much more work to be done with the line. Sure, the group looks bigger and stronger, true to the Falcons' offseason theme. None of that will matter, however, if the line gets pushed around come Sept. 7 against the New Orleans Saints.

Tice realizes the task he has ahead of him and the importance of his group improving drastically.

"I know in my time, I've looked at the offensive line and the offense as a whole as a fancy sports car," Tice said. "You have your spokes -- your rims, they tell me don't say spokes -- your rims, and your fancy paint jobs, and your tinted windshields and windows. And then you have your engine.

"You know, the offensive line has to be the engine that let's the fancy rims and the paint job look good. And so if the engine's not working, the paint job looks like (crap), quite frankly. So that's how we're going to approach it in our room. We're the engine and we have to be the ones that fuel all those great players we have in the skill positions, because we have a bunch of them."

The Falcons ranked dead last in rushing last year because blocking up front was porous. They allowed Matt Ryan to be the most pressured quarterback in the league because they weren't physical up front.

Tice aims to change all that, starting with the protection of Ryan.

"I've always felt that people that say you can't by physical in pass [protection] don't know what they're talking about," Tice said. "I think we've got to change some mindsets around here, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to change the mindsets of the guys up front to understand that if there's a 60-play game, you're in 60 boxing matches."

The Falcons' line simply has to win its fair share of those brawls.

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I know its all talk at this point but I am really excited to see this offensive line. Baker hopefully can return to 2012 form, Hawley or Konz step up at Center and our right side does as expected with Asamoah and Matthews. Blalock takes care of business as usual.

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Everything I've read and seen this offseason looks good for the Oline.

Hill gone

The Tice hire

Asomoah

Matthews

Konz living in the weight room

Holmes too, according to Ryan

Whole Oline group being bigger and stronger

Carimi, meh, but he is healthy now

Want to see them in action during the preseason- they'll be going up against some good Dlines.

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For once under the current regime, we finally see both lines getting some much needed attention. I know all of us are looking forward to seeing some improved line play. This offense should be able to use all its weapons again.

neither the o-line nor the d-line are complete - but we were at square one before the offseason started and we probably now have these lines about 75% complete now - it was pretty close to 0% before offseason started.

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neither the o-line nor the d-line are complete - but we were at square one before the offseason started and we probably now have these lines about 75% complete now - it was pretty close to 0% before offseason started.

In what fashion is the o line and d line not complete? Not saying your wrong, but I do disagree to an extent, so just wondering what you think.

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We can't be worse than last year rushing the ball or pass protecting. I think it takes us till mid-season to begin to jell as a unit. By the time we hit the playoffs the O will be fine, it'll be the same old story...how far will our D take us

1 and Done. But remember. It is always Matt Ryan's fault.

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In what fashion is the o line and d line not complete? Not saying your wrong, but I do disagree to an extent, so just wondering what you think.

OFFENSIVE LINE:

The Center position is far from settled - I know many are hopeful for Hawley - and maybe he pans out - but to think that position is settled at this point with Hawley & Konz - nope, cannot sign off on it.

Sam Baker? Hopefully he plays well and stays healthy this season - but he is not a no-brainer either. Baker has had about 2 good seasons out of 6 - plays horribly when not 100% healthy. Falcons could be moving on from Baker and his high dollar contract at season's end or the next.

Justin Blalock has always been rather average but has looked good in comparison to our other offensive linemen. He is overpaid as well. For now, Blalock is getting the job done.

DEFENSIVE LINE;

Considering we just switched to a 3-4, we made a lot of progress. We have our no-brainer starters in Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai. We also have a very high ceiling rook in Ra'Shede Hageman who just needs to mature and provide consistent effort. While we retained Babs, Peters and Jerry - none are ideal fits for 3-4 defensive line. So while starters are in place, we need more 3-4 pieces for an adequate 3-4 rotation of players across the defensive line.

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So glad we finally got some coaches who show "tough love". I liked hearing Tice in his video interview talking about fixing issues with O-Line, little technique issues with there hand placement and footwork. If I remember correctly he was specifically talking about Baker aswell.

"I've always felt that people that say you can't by physical in pass [protection] don't know what they're talking about," Tice said. "I think we've got to change some mindsets around here, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to change the mindsets of the guys up front to understand that if there's a 60-play game, you're in 60 boxing matches."

This makes me think that this was what he was referring to about changing Bakers technique, hopefully to be more physical in his pass protection.

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Guest MikeKennHOF

I am very hopeful and excited about our line's prospects under Mike Tice. I guarantee that he will not tolerate soft passivity from the o-line. And if someone cheapshots Matt Ryan again, I do not expect to see our linemen standing there, hands on hips, looking like sad kittens.

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