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Falcons' Mike Tice says offensive line will be tougher this season

Jake Matthews is part of a rebuilt offensive line. Photo: Paul Abell/AP

Jake Matthews is part of a rebuilt offensive line.

Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice said his unit will be tougher this season, ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure reports.

During the offseason, owner Arthur Blank said he was disappointed the team didn't do a better job of standing up for quarterback Matt Ryan after he took several big hits.

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Tice said that will not be a problem for the offensive line this season.

"The one thing they won't be, they won't be punked over by anybody," Tice said of his line. "That's encouraging."
"I'd lose a lot of sleep if we were getting our a-- kicked in pass protection, but we're not," Tice said. "We're not going to be a run-first team, so we'll get the runs cleaned up. We've just got to keep protecting that quarterback."

The Falcons used the No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft on tackle Jake Matthews. They also signed Jon Asamoah to start at right guard.

Atlanta opens the regular season at home on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

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- Paul Palladino

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