Tuck: Most would call Atl O-Line dirt bags

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
6:21
PM ET


Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is aware that the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line does not have a stellar reputation. The Falcons have drawn criticism from opposing teams this season for supposedly playing dirty and playing beyond the whistle during games.

"We know they have that quote unquote reputation," Tuck said when asked on Monday about the reputation of Atlanta's offensive line. "But in a way it kind of is exciting. Most people, you would call them dirt bags. But it is what it is. We got to make sure we do our job and if we are doing our job well, then they will be upset and they will be trying to do things to get us off our game and we got to take that as a compliment. But in the same sense you got to protect yourself and hopefully the referees have 20-20 vision this week."

Atlanta's offensive line came under fire twice in a span of three weeks early this season for its supposed dirty play against a pair of NFC North opponents.

Following Atlanta's 25-14 home loss to the Packers on Oct. 9, several Packers players were not happy with Atlanta's play, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Great teams don't indulge in the kind of cheap stuff the Falcons do," Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said according to the paper. "We're the champions and we play that way. We walk away from the stuff they pull. These guys are coached to play after the whistle.

"I don't know what the deal is. I think it's a lack of talent on their part. We didn't worry about any of that. We came out and played our game."

Just two weeks later, Atlanta's offensive line once again had teams calling it out for perceived dirty play. Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said that it was karma that Atlanta's quarterback Matt Ryan was injured in the Falcons' 23-16 win over Detroit, referencing what he saw as bad stuff from the Falcons' offensive line in the past.

"There are many, many plays that I could go back to that I watch on film all week that their offensive line has done," Suh said according to ESPN.com, "and that they've been coached to do, as far as I know. It's not anything that's been said, it's not anything that's new."

The article also added that lineman Cliff Avril told the Lions' team website that Atlanta's offensive lineman run 20 to 30 yards down the field and are trying to cut players.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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