Monday September 1st, 2014

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.

KING: Big test for Goodell before opener

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.

Alex Smith, Chiefs agree to $68 million extension

- Paul Palladino

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.