Be sure of this: Matt Ryan is smiling.
The Falcons took a big step toward keeping their sturdy offensive line intact Sunday by re-signing starting left guard Justin Blalock, according to a league source. The team later announced the move and said it had given Blalock a six-year contract.
Keeping Blalock is an important move for the Falcons and their young QB. Ryan was sacked just 23 times in 2010, third-best in the NFL last season. The strength of Atlanta’s line also helped the team rush for 118.2 yards per game, the league’s 12th-best mark.
The reliable Blalock has started every game for the Falcons over the past three seasons, and 62 games over his career. The team also re-signed OT Tyson Clabo, who started 16 games for Atlanta last season, a move that offsets the loss of OT Harvey Dahl, who signed with the Rams.