Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora didn’t know Pat Hill was the Falcons new offensive line coach. But he said he could tell from watching tape things were different.
Some accused the Falcons blockers of dirty play last year, and after other teams accused them of cheap tactics, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck admitted the Falcons had a reputation for being “dirt bags.”
But apparently, no more.
“Definitely,” Umenyiora said when asked if the Falcons were playing differently, via Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger “They’re not playing the way that they played. They’re just trying to straight up block you; that’s what they’re trying to do.
“None of that dirty, after-the-play stuff they were doing last year.”
Hill replaced Paul Boudreau, a longtime NFL assistant. And regardless the intent, the Falcons line has improved in terms of pass protection this year, although their run-blocking doesn’t look as good (though that’s a function of an aging Michael Turner as well).
But they’re doing it within the rules of fair play, according to Umenyiora.
“I didn’t even know they had a new offensive line coach so he’s definitely cleaned that up,” Umenyiora said. “I think he’s more interested in winning and blocking people than trying to hurt people.”
Boudreau doesn’t have a reputation as a head-hunter within the league, and what Umenyiora’s seeing may just be a function of having more guys on their feet and executing blocks instead of flailing as the Falcons so often did last year, when injuries left them with an odd lot of blockers weekly.