Justin Tuck might think they are "dirtbags" for their style of play, but the Falcons offensive line is offering no apologies.
Atlanta tackles Will Svitek and Tyson Clabo defended themselves Wednesday after Tuck, whom they face Sunday when the Giants play host to an NFC wild-card game at MetLife Stadium, became the latest NFL defensive lineman to accuse the Falcons of crossing the line with their tactics by claiming that "most people would say they are dirtbags."
"That's his point of view," Svitek said. "If he views us as cheap, then so be it. We're going to do what we do. We take pride in being physical. You don't want to be viewed as soft. We're always going to be there, and we want them to know we're there."
The Falcons linemen are in the crosshairs -- even Detroit's Ndamukong Suh called them dirty -- because their favored approach is cut blocking, going low to take out a defender's legs.
While legal, it can lead to a serious injury when not done properly. If that is dirty, Svitek said, so be it.
"We cut like everybody else," he said. "That's not illegal, and we don't get fined. We're not trying to hurt anybody. Diving at people's legs is just part of the game. It's not done in a cheap way."
Clabo, who spent a couple of weeks on the Giants practice squad in 2004, echoed Svitek and added that the other accusation against Atlanta's linemen -- that they flop at the end of plays in order to get retaliation penalties on defenders -- is equally undeserved.
"I can't speak for the other guys, but I've never [flopped]," Clabo said. "If a defensive lineman is going to punch you in the face or shove you in the throat, you don't have to act to show a reaction to that. That's pretty serious stuff."
Svitek, a six-year veteran, laughed off Tuck's jab while mulling the earnings potential of it.
"I've been called worse," he said. "I'm going to have to find the Wikipedia definition of 'dirtbag.' Maybe look it up on urbandictionary.com. I've joked that maybe we should print up T-shirts and brand it, maybe make some money with [the size of] the New York market."