Q&A: John Abraham doesn’t feel like he’s slowing down

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham (55) looks on during the morning session on the second day of NFL football mini-camp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. AP Photo/Paul Abell

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham (55) looks on during the morning session on the second day of NFL football mini-camp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. AP Photo/Paul Abell

Flowery Branch – Falcons defensive end John Abraham is not one to dodge a question.

He’s heard the whispers about him being washed up.

He’s seen some of your comments on here, pleading for the team to draft a defensive end. 

John Abraham has 89.5 career sacks. How many will he register in 2010?

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He knows his sacks dipped from 16.5 to 5.5 last season.

He knows that, according to the coaches’ stats after film review, he had 10 quarterback hurries.

Before Abraham had to leave to catch a plane, he tackled some hard core issues.

Abraham, who turned 32 last Thursday, is under contract through the 2011 season. He’s set to make a base salary of $6.5 million next season and a base salary of $8 million in 2011.

Here’s the Q&A with Abraham.

Q: How has your offseason been going for you?

A: It’s been good. I’ve been down working out in Pensacola for a month down at the Andrews Institute. I feel good. I came back and I feel like I’m in shape. I feel like I’ve got a little more juice in me.

Q: Have you looked back on last season? How did you evaluate your play?

A: We just have to get a little more experience out there. That’s all. I felt like I played well. I don’t feel like I fell off. People ask me ‘do you think you’re losing it?’ But I watched myself

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) looks for a receiver as Atlanta Falcons defender John Abraham (55) pursues in the first half of their NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. (AP Photo)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) looks for a receiver as Atlanta Falcons defender John Abraham (55) pursues in the first half of their NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. (AP Photo)

on tape and it still shows that I’m doing the same stuff I did before. I feel good. I’m out here (at minicamp) now and I feel good. I don’t feel like I’m slowing down.

Q: Would better coverage in the secondary have helped your sack numbers?

A: We just need more experience. If you watch, I had a lot of good pressures, but I just didn’t get them down like I wanted to. I think we’ve got a lot more experience. Bringing Dunta (Robinson) in here helps. Some of our younger guys are more experienced now. It should be good for me.

Q: Will getting Peria (Jerry) back help the pass rush, too?

A: Yeah, that should help us in the pass rush. Peria did a good job with the little bit of plays he had last year. Now, it’s time for him to stand up and really be a contributor.

94 comments Add your comment

Falcons will win

May 12th, 2010
6:58 am

Looking foward to a great season by JA

Jeepers

May 12th, 2010
7:21 am

It’s wasn’t me John. I didn’t say you were washed up. Just sayin.’ He’s bringing it next season and will be the SuperBowl MVP.

alanfalcon

May 12th, 2010
7:23 am

Beirman and Sidbury will help John A. also, Beirman is coming into his own and it sounds like Sidbury really has the desire to suceed.

joeyv from Huntington beach

May 12th, 2010
7:26 am

I belive in john one hundred percent , last year was last year , we had injuries all around. This year were stacked at d line and linebacker , our secondary will be the strength of this defense . Peria , big Lewis and babs will help when he returns . I’m rootin for john to have another pro bowl season ! Dirty birds are back in form!

Chop Buster

May 12th, 2010
7:31 am

People just don’t understand that defense is a team effort and it takes all of the pieces for it to function properly. There were many things I saw that affected Abraham’s play and lack of team mate experience was a major part of that (especially the secondary). When you only have pressure coming from one side consistently, teams can afford to double-team Abe. Also, when you have a QB that gets the ball out of there hands quickly that will affect sacks as well. Hurries are just as good because it can cause the QB to force something. Let’s see how we do now that Sid and Kroy have more experience and with the possibility of getting a pass rush up the middle. Finally, don’t forget our boy Spoon coming off the edge as well.

Chop Buster

May 12th, 2010
7:32 am

Oops…should be their vs there. Edit, edit edit. LOL

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 12th, 2010
7:34 am

Better coverage will certainly give Abe more time to launch his assaults on the opposition’s pocket.

SimpleDawg

May 12th, 2010
7:35 am

I think he’s washed up……but he has an opportunity to show that he’s not. Another 5.5 sack season will not cut it.

He’s also been injury prone throughout his career.

Having Peria Jerry should help – if he’s healthy, and Jamaal Anderson needs to be moved inside to tackle. Anderson could cause problems by knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.

The 4 defensive players on the line of scrimmage, the ones nearest the ball, are crucial to success.

Paddy

May 12th, 2010
7:42 am

SimpleDawg…I agree with your post except on Abe. I believe he might not be the pro-bowl DE of past but better than most in the league. Being a team game, if the other parts of the defense come together, Abe will still be our star on defense imho.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 12th, 2010
7:42 am

Simple Dawg — The injury thing is old. He’s answered the bell in 49 straight games.

florida falcon

May 12th, 2010
7:52 am

@Jeepers- I’m with you man! “This one’s for John” A fitting way for him to ride off into the sunset!

ATLJBO

May 12th, 2010
7:55 am

Great Blog DOL…. I still think Abe has gas in the tank especially how we use him (pass rusher mostly)… I think it was partly opponents sliding their O-Line Abes way, Our pass coverage, and us dropping him in coverage… I understand we were zone blitzing but Abe cant be the guy not rushing…

D-Led … When will get that D-Line heavy info….lol.. Man I’m on the computer early to find this out…lol

Blue Fender

May 12th, 2010
8:01 am

With a more experienced secondary I think John will terrorize the backfield this year. He always dominates early in the season,so whoever Pittsburg throws out there to replace Big Ben, get ready to taste the turf!

SirReal

May 12th, 2010
8:11 am

Abe is still a top tier DE. I agree that lack of pressure and a swiss cheese secondary contributed to the numbers going down. I watched EVERY game last year and 55 was in the backfield many times. He’ll have a good year this year with Bierman (who i think is the next Kerney if we stop this “rotation” thing and let him start period. Sidbury can relieve him) on the other side. He’s got a lot of upside and he’ll help Abe by making O-Lines account for him.

truth

May 12th, 2010
8:15 am

Is this the big “D”line info?

collegedude

May 12th, 2010
8:15 am

ATLJBO, I’m afraid this is the heavy DL info…..we woke up early for nothing.

fatboy

May 12th, 2010
8:18 am

i think he has plenty left, John isnt going to say anything or point fingers but i will. and i love all my falcons, but there were alot of things out of Johns hands that contributed to his lower numbers. one was a lack of coverage will should be greatly improved with Daunta and williams back, grimes and owens ended up having pretty good years. second was a lack of a rush from any where else. there were time when John was double and tripple teamed and no one else got to the quarter back. this year with Jerry back, and kroy in what his 3rd year, then chauncy and sidbury in thier second years at end, this should be a good year for abs.
i think JA will be like Strahan and White, there numbers may have dipped slightly but both had very good final years.
and for you #55 we didnt want a DE to replace you, we wanted a stud DE you could teach and groom for a few years down the road.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

May 12th, 2010
8:29 am

its great to talk football this early in the morning , makes it easier to go to work , Abraham has a lot left maybe the other teams will think he is done and quit double teaming and chipping him, I bet it won’t take long for them to realize their mistake.

ATL Fan

May 12th, 2010
9:01 am

I don’t think it was double-teams that hurt his numbers, I think it was holds by the offensive linemen that didn’t get called.

ddawgdavis

May 12th, 2010
9:06 am

So, better coverage in the secondary equals better pass rush? That would be a great philosophy, but how about some help on the line. Double teams? Chop blocks? Zone Blocking? Offensive line coaches last year saw the decline of the line and EXPLOITED it. Sids and Kroy will definitely help off the edge and Jerry and Babs with the rookie will give the middle an anchor. I still wish they would go after John Henderson.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 12th, 2010
9:29 am

something needs to happen this year- last year our D was a joke. If Abe doesn’t improve his #s this year, time to go shopping.

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
9:31 am

DOL
IS THIS THE “HEAVY D-LINE” INFO YOU TEASED US ABOUT?

waynester

May 12th, 2010
9:41 am

Until we prove to the League that we can get to the QB from LDE and DT, JAbe will continue to draw double-teams. I didn’t hear Abraham complaining about holds against him–he knows they’ll try and his technique must keep them from latching on. And as far as him “being washed-up”, I don’t know anyone who thinks he’s reached that point yet, but as part of the “over 30 club” he’s saying “yes,yes, yes” while the clock says “no,no,NO”(Munsonism). As a pro, I doubt he’s worried about a rookie taking his job, rather,staving off the ravages of time(thus the training in Pensacola). If we’re really trying to become the Patriots South ya’ll know that aging veteran plus final year of contract equals trade for draft picks. I’m guessing that as soon as we think Sidbury can handle it, Abe will be with a new team to finish his career–thanks for the memories–hearty handshake–good luck. It sounds harsh toward the best player on your “D”, but that’s the reality in the NotForLong. I’m hoping that he has another pro-bowl year this season, but as others have noted, some factors are beyond his control–especially Time….

Fish2774

May 12th, 2010
9:49 am

One man can’t do it all especially when he’s being doubled teamed. No push in the middle means no sacks for our Defensive Ends. It’s called: “The Flush” when u get pressure up the middle and more the quarterback off his spot. Two years ago we had that in Big Grady Jackson.Now let’s hope Jerry can bring “The Flush”.

Mike is Back

May 12th, 2010
9:52 am

DLed , Great Stuff…thanks for the timely info. I look for a big season from Abe. I think our defense will be one of the TOPS in the league.

Alanfalcon, I love Beirman’s motor. I think he will make a huge impact…opposite Abe. I Think Beirman and Sidbury will make BIG push for time at that spot…MR ANDERSON! Heh Heh

@JANDERSON, sorry for cheesy matrix shot. lol

GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
9:55 am

Waynester,

Well I know you’re right about the Patriots way of shipping off Vets for picks. But even tho TD has instilled a lot of NE traits done here, Blank has shown loyalty in the passed. So in a three way vote it’ll be up to mike smith on Abe’s fate. One one hand if he has a good year we might wanna keep him, but on the other, if he’s had a good year his trade value may go up. If another DE has a better year then Abe you’ll see him shipped before the draft.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Yes, we hadn’t heard from ABE since the end of the season. We needed to check in with the Double Nickel. That’s always pretty HEAVY stuff.

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
10:13 am

And the blogs went wild….
Guess the jokes on all of us…
Thanks DOL…
No trades, No releases, No Injuries. Just an indepth interview with 55

I can dig it…..
I’m Cool

NOT

waynester

May 12th, 2010
10:13 am

Falcon Transplant
Good year = increased trade value, possibly in mid-season when teams are reaching for replacements due to injury/under-performance. You may be right that it comes down to (Agent) Smith to make the call. (More Matrix for Mike).
DLed
Yes, as in “Yes, that was the Heavy News”?

Jake Long

May 12th, 2010
10:16 am

Washed up? Umm, do you know where my mouthpiece is?

truth

May 12th, 2010
10:17 am

Ok DLed……why have you tucked tail and run on the ?…..is this the big news about the Dline? Come on man if it is you’re one cold hearted man. :)

Hangman

May 12th, 2010
10:18 am

JERRY JERRY JERRY. GET REAL PEOPLE!

Fan in NC

May 12th, 2010
10:24 am

D-Led. Do you see PJ, HD, and BW all being 100% barring any rehab setbacks?

Matty Ice

May 12th, 2010
10:25 am

D-Led, that was LAME to tease us with “heavy” D-Line info – and THIS is what it is…….puh-leze!!! Don’t need a tease like that again for such a “non-story”…..c’mon D-Led, don’t treat your loyal readers like that.

j-man

May 12th, 2010
10:36 am

We need John Henderson

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
10:37 am

Waynester,

Then I guess it’s a good thing 55 comes on strong in the beginning of the season. Sure wish we’d go get Odum for insurance. then possibily get a 2nd for 55

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
10:39 am

John Henderson would also be good insurance, but I think the team has invested in the DT position through the draft to the point that they’re committed to these guys ONLY

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
10:45 am

I screamed for us to draft SPOON, Now I’m screaming for us to pick up Odom. he could be placed in our rotation and help our young guys develop, plus he’s younger then ABE and if Abe does have a great year we’d have an already proven DE to start ‘11 with Sid/Beer starting within the rotation. then maybe draft a DE with the pick we get with the Abe trade.

waynester

May 12th, 2010
10:55 am

Transplant
Is Odom a RDE or can he play either side? Not really familiar with the player…

FalconTransplant

May 12th, 2010
11:02 am

I believe he is interchangable.
He played for the Titans back when Haynesworth was there and has actually done better since coming to the Bengals. He’s not abe, but a stop gap with some good upside. But has an injury bug that we could counter with a rotaion instead of playing every down.

PMC

May 12th, 2010
11:05 am

He’s only 32 he had virtually no one else on the line of merit last year other than Babs and he was still mostly getting there just a beat late because of the pourousness of the secondary. He’s going to be fine.

PMC

May 12th, 2010
11:07 am

Odom would be a nice addition.

chris taylor

May 12th, 2010
11:09 am

I have 2 Falcons jerseys…one #7…in moth-balls somewhere, and one #55. He is by far my favorite NFL player. When he’s on & in “the zone” very few players can control a game like Abe. Loads of factors went into his drop in #’s last season. I understand he’s getting older but he didn’t age 5yrs in 1. When ATL lost to the cards in O8 playoffs everyone on the team was like “we tried…..we gave it or best..” Except Abe. This dude’s interview by Fred Kalil had to be cut short cause it’s hard to bleep the cursing when it’s live, no one has more passion for the game or this team. When the rest of the line, mainly DT, aren’t a liability then we have a guy that lines up one 3rd down and promises the opposing QB’s you only got time to throw a pumpfake to your 1st read and you’re a$$ is down after that.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 12th, 2010
11:11 am

truth — I’m not hiding. This is pretty HEAVY!!!

Odom is represented by Abraham’s agent, Rich Rosa. Odom has played RDE and LDE in Tenn and Cincy. He had 8 sacks in 6 games last year. He previous best year was 8 sacks in 2007. He’ll turn 29 in September.

PMC

May 12th, 2010
11:13 am

One of the reasons people were hoping for a DE is because it’s so often beat into our heads that teams are drafting for the future and if super bowl winning teams like the Giants are observed…. you can never have enough talent rushing the passer. Desiring a DE is not diminishing the Abilities of 55. THat said, I think the OLB hole that has been there since the decline of Brooking and the downright depressing Chris Draft release is probably the most important move the Brass could have made to improve this defense this year. Quicker, faster, more urgent. The fact that they have drafted Sid and Kroy in previous seasons means that they haven’t completely neglected the End position. There aren’t many better pass rushers in the league than John Abraham even at 32.

PMC

May 12th, 2010
11:16 am

That bullrush when he ran over Jake Long is probably my favorite Falcon sack ever. That had to feel awesome. That’s kind of when you just want to drop the mic and walk off stage.

Mike Jay

May 12th, 2010
11:16 am

Double digit sacks this year provided the defense can stay relaitivley helathy. Improved interior rush + improved secondary play = more sacks from the end postions. Add the fact that he has something to prove and we could see a pro bowl type season. Looing forward to the season, can;t get here quick enough to was hthe tast of the hwaks out of my mouth.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 12th, 2010
11:17 am

PMC –You make some very good points (as usual)! The Rushers, no matter how talented they are, can’t get to the quarterback if multiple receivers are streaming down field WIDE OPEN. You’ve got to cover or account for them in zones to allow the rush enough time to attack.

Gene Okerlund

May 12th, 2010
11:21 am

Holy crap, who is more delusional, Josh Smith or John Abraham? What kind of BS is he trying to pull? Does he REALLY think that he played well last year? Really? Jeez, the man has not only lost a step, he has lost his mind.

Statick

May 12th, 2010
11:25 am

WE BELIEVE IN YOU, ABE!