Former Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice elicited mixed opinions from the fan base. Some loved him, while others couldn't understand his awkward humor and receding hairline. But give the man credit. He had to put a quality product on the field, notwithstanding a truly absurd injury streak along the offensive front.
Tice supervised five different starting combinations, a difficult task for any position coach. It's especially difficult when you're responsible for the safety and wellbeing of a franchise quarterback. But he didn't do it alone. He had veterans who provided veteran leadership. With Justin Blalock and Jon Asamoah, Tice had two guys with experience playing at the highest level. Blalock struggled with injury and recently retired. Asamoah is back and primed to once again lead his unit.
So with a completely re-tooled offensive line, one missing perennial fixtures Sam Baker (I'm using the term "perennial fixture" loosely) and Justin Blalock, is Asamoah the only leadership option? To be frank, I wouldn't say there's a clear leader at this point. Instead, there are three logical candidates. Again, Asamoah is a respected veteran with a high football IQ. And then there's second year phenom Jake Matthews. Matthews has more NFL pedigree than Vince Lombardi's cryogenically frozen pinkie toe. He may be confident enough now to assume a leadership role. Finally there's the bearded wonder. Assuming Joe Hawley wins the starting center job outright, there's no reason to think he won't provide quality leadership. He's been there and he's done that; now's his time to give a little something back.
So who's going to lead the rag tag bunch of shenanigan-loving hooligans? Discuss!