All season long other teams’ players have been hemmin and hawing about how “dirty” the Atlanta Falcons offensive line is. First Ndamukong Suh said it, then BJ Raji of the Green Bay Packers and now Justin Tuck of the Giants.
There are many, many, many plays that I could go back to that I watch on film all week that their offensive line has done,” Suh said Monday, “and that they’ve been coached to do, as far as I know. It’s not anything that’s not been said; it’s not anything that’s new.
Cliff Avril said:
You watch film of Atlanta’s O-line and they’re 20, 30 yards down the field cutting guys,” Avril told the website. “You’re running toward the pile and they’re trying to clean you up. Everybody was protecting themselves. I guess since they couldn’t clean us up in piles because guys were aware of it, they decide to make it like we’re the dirty players.
Great teams don’t indulge in the kind of cheap stuff the Falcons do. We’re the (defending Super Bowl) champions and we play that way. We walk away from the stuff they pull. These guys are coached to play after the whistle.
It’s unnecessary. They call it playing physical. But it’s after the whistle. It’s not physical. We know it watching tape that you they like to hit after the whistle. You have to watching yourself around the piles.
And Justin Tuck finished it by calling the Falcons O-linemen dirt bags.
Just to be clear, the Offensive line has been accused of bad blocking, playing after the whistle, taking cheap shots, and just generally being not nice.
OH MY GOD THE ATLANTA FALCONS ARE SO MEAN!
Mean they may be, but the flags are not flying.
The numbers back up the Falcons. Not only were Atlanta offensive linemen whistled for only one personal foul and a mere three illegal-use-of-hands penalties all season, but they also picked up just seven holding penalties in 1,073 snaps (just once every 134 snaps).
No wonder the famously mild-mannered Smith raised his voice yesterday in defense of his unit.
“Our offensive line is a very passionate, aggressive group of guys who play the game the way we want it to be played,” the coach said.
Asked if he thought his linemen ever cross the line, Smith shot back: “No, I do not — not one bit whatsoever. We want to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football, and it’s mano a mano down there. It’s the trenches.”
As a Falcons fan I’m finding it hard not to beam with pride, especially with the way the linemen defended themselves (you can see what they said when you click on the link above the quote). Now y’all know I’m all for guys following the rules, though like the guys at Deadspin said, all football players are dirty especially when it comes to the pile. However, the whining about blocking technique that is legal but not preferred due to the danger it can cause is just…well…whiny.
This is one thing I’ll be watching during the Falcons/Atlanta playoff game this weekend. Not to see if the Falcons are doing anything wrong (I know they never would! *innocent face*) but to see if the officials throw the Giants a bone or two. Sometimes whining pays.
Sidebar: maybe it’s the Eagles/Falcons fan in me but after listening to the Giants talk all week leading up to the Jets game and now leading up to the Falcons game I wouldn’t mind if the whole team came down with laryngitis.
PS: Credit to my “twin” @lovecrissle for giving the Falcons Offensive line the name “mean girls.” Finally, a Saints fan was good for something. ahhahaah