Offensive line coach Mike Tice listed a couple of reasons why he decided to accept the position with the Falcons — familiarity with head coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter with how they run a team — but chief among the reasons was quarterback Matt Ryan.
Coming to a team with such a talented quarterback was plenty to lure Tice into his new job, he said, but he enters the position knowing what Ryan went through last year.
Ryan was hit more than ever in his professional career, and Tice is taking his role in keeping that from becoming a trend.
“I know we have a good core of guys to work with,” Tice said. “We have some young guys that are going to get better and hopefully we can add to that mix. Hopefully, we can hit the ground running — literally — in September.”
First, Tice will continue to set about the task of evaluating players on the roster. He said that he’s taken a look at every offensive lineman he’s got to work with enough to form an opinion on each when asked by Smith.
He said he’s already got some familiarity with one offensive lineman in particular — Peter Konz. Tice’s son, Nate, was a quarterback at Wisconsin when Konz was there, and Tice had some good things to say about the center/guard.
“I’m looking forward to Peter having his third year,” Tice said. “I find most offensive linemen really start flourishing in that third year, so I came in at the right time.”