The Atlanta Falcons are set to hire Mike Tice as their new offensive line coach, a move that ties in directly with comments from head coach Mike Smith and owner Arthur Blank. D. Orlando Ledbetter confirmed the reports in a story for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Falcons owner Arthur Blank restated the team’s commitment to power football and they took another step in that direction when they reached a two-year deal with Mike Tice to become their offensive line coach on Tuesday, according to various reports.
The failure of both offensive and defensive lines contributed heavily to the Falcons’ descent from Super Bowl contender to finishing tied for last place in the NFC South. Offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn were terminated along with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton.
Tice has a pretty lengthy resume in the NFL as both a player and a coach. He was un-drafted, but had a 14-year playing career with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings as a tight end. After his playing career wrapped up, Tice took a job with the Vikings as a tight ends coach (1996). After that, he became the team’s offensive line coach from 1997-2001 before being named interim head coach during the team’s final 2001 game, and then head coach from 2002-2005.
It should also be noted that Tice was involved in a Super Bowl ticket scalping operation in 2005 that led to a $100,000 fine–the largest fine to ever be handed down to an NFL coach at the time.
As a head coach, Tice has an overall record of 32-33, but that shouldn’t matter too much for this job. If he can improve the Falcons’ offensive line–both in pass protection and run blocking–it will be a good hire for Atlanta. We’ll see what he can do with the unit… but it might be a while.