Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Where do you stand on the Mike Tice hire?

This hire reeks of cronyism.

It will be interesting to see who else the Falcons interviewed for the offensive line position. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported that they were blocked from talking to Minnesota’s Jeff Davidson. (Word is that he was pretty ticked off, too.)

Apparently, things shifted quickly to Tice.

I haven’t finished crunching numbers on him, but the early numbers don’t look good for Matt Ryan. Unless there’s a major influx of talent upgrades, Matty Ice will be on the run again in 2014.

Tice’s lines have had trouble protecting the passer, too. It will depend how much of the blame you want to place on Mike Martz’ Super-Bowl winning scheme for some of Tice’s woes.

In his seven seasons as an offensive line coach, his unit was ranked in the top 10 in sacks allowed three times. In 2010, his Chicago Bears line led the league with 56 sacks. In 2011, his Chicago line gave up 49 sacks, fifth in the league. In 2001, his Minnesota line gave up 47 sacks, which ranked 7th in the league.

In 1998, Tice had his best pass-protecting unit with Minnesota. They gave up 25 sacks and ranked 25th in the league.

Like Smith’s other recent hires, Tice has worked with him in the past. He was assistant head coach/offense on the Jacksonville staff in 2006 and was the assistant head coach/tight ends from 2007-09, while Smith served as the defensive coordinator.

After the 2011 season when Smith was looking for new coordinators, he hired Mike Nolan, who he’d worked with in Baltimore and Dirk Koetter, who was on the staff in Jacksonville.

Was Tice the best offensive line coach candidate out there or just the most comfortable?



1997 Minnesota 33 21

1998 Minnesota 25 25

1999 Minnesota 43 12

2000 Minnesota 35 17

2001 Minnesota 47 7

2010 Chicago 56 1

2011 Chicago 49 5

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.