Sackmaster John Abraham determined to have big season

Falcons defensive end (55) John Abraham appears determined to have a big season. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end (55) John Abraham appears determined to have a big season. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders made an interesting point when he was here with his youth football team.

He noted that he looks at a football team from the outside- in. That’s probably because he played on the outside at cornerback.

Most folks do just the opposite. It’s wiser to look at a team from the inside-out. Basically you start with both lines.

“You know I look at the game from the outside-in,” Sanders said.

If a team can’t block, it is in for a long season. You can have the best cornerbacks in the world, but if the defensive line isn’t stout, the opposition is just going to jam the football down your throat with the running game.

The Falcons are not going anywhere unless the lines are at least sturdy and preferably, dominating.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank had a warm greeting for veteran offensive lineman Todd McClure. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank had a warm greeting for veteran offensive lineman Todd McClure. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Knowing that the NFL games are won in the trenches, it’s always important to keep track of the lines. So you have to always check-in with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coach Paul Boudreau.

Hamilton likes how his unit is performing early in training camp.

He noted that John Abraham is embracing a leadership role and is really dialed in about having a bounce-back season.

“Trey Lewis is two years removed from his knee surgery,” Hamilton said. “He’s moving better. (Jonathan) Babineaux is quick as ever. He’s learning a couple of new pass rush moves, the same with Abraham.”

Rookie Corey Peters is doing well so far. Lawrence Sidbury and Kroy Biermann have continued to improve, too. Thomas Johnson, who started 11 games last season, looks much bigger.

But the really big news on the defensive line is that Jamaal Anderson is really coming on at defensive end. He’s finally developing those violate hands that Hamilton preaches around.

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry is back on the field for the second practice of the first day of training camp. Jerry missing most of last season with an injury. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry is back on the field for the second practice of the first day of training camp. Jerry missing most of last season with an injury. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Anderson has been playing so strong that he’s been in a couple skirmishes with the offensive linemen. He’s also working well at defensive tackle in pass rushing situations.

“I would say overall, they are on the upswing,” Hamilton said. “They are doing their techniques and stuff that we are trying to teach them, decently. You just have to carry that into the preseason games.”

The defensive line will get a major boost if Peria Jerry can fully recover from has knee surgery. He returned to live action.

“We are going to  be patient and ease into this,” Hamilton said. “We want to make sure that his legs get stronger.”

Boudreau, who’s in his 24th year of coaching in the NFL, appears set with a line of Sam Baker and Justin Blalock on the left side and Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo on the right and Todd McClure at center.

“We have to set the tempo,” Boudreau said. “We have to have an unspoken chemistry and right now we’ve got guys really not on the same page. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Boudreau is trying to cross-train several players and that’s always difficult. Rookie Joe Hawley played mostly center at UNLV, but is being cross trained at guard.

Tackle (75) Garrett Reynolds levels a tackling dummy while running a drill. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Tackle (75) Garrett Reynolds levels a tackling dummy while running a drill. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Garrett Reynolds, who got some action at guard late last season, is working at guard and tackle.

“It’s always a little different when you move over one spot,” Boudreau said. “You have to get a feel for it. We are going to have to cross train people because as you know, we go into every game with seven linemen. In preseason games, if we are going to be working the second and third units in a game, we might have to swing some guys between guard and tackle.”

Becoming a good swing player takes time.

“With (Will) Svitek and (Quinn) Ojinnaka, it’s taken them two years to be reliable swing guys,” Boudreau said. “We are trying to get everybody up to speed and learn our system.”

Boudreau confirmed that Jose Valdez, who was on the practice squad all last season, has looked impressive.

“He’s a guy who is very athletic when he gets out there and he pulls on our sweeps,” Boudreau said. “He’s very fluid. He’s got nice feet in space.”

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker blocks defensive end (98) Jamaal Anderson at the line while running a play. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker blocks defensive end (98) Jamaal Anderson at the line while running a play. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

An old-school coach like Boudreau isn’t going to have much good to say about rookies. So Mike Johnson and Hawley just better keep grinding away. They are big, athletic and have been studying hard in the class room.

“It’s been tough on them,” Boudreau said. “They’ve had some good snaps and some bad snaps.”

Sanders does like the fact that the Falcons have addressed their outside issue at cornerback and he likes quarterback Matt Ryan.

“Your quarterback, I think he knows what he’s doing,” Sanders said. “He started off with a great rookie season. Last year was OK. This year I think he’s going to be fine.”

It’s early in training camp, but things look pretty good from the inside-out.

Date, Practice Times (public availability)

Friday, August 6 — Practice 10:15 – 11:55 a.m. (open to the public)

Falcons Allstate All-Access “Friday Night Lights”

Team Scrimmage at North Gwinnett High School – 7:30 p.m. (open to the public)

Saturday, August 7 — Mock Game at Flowery Branch – 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)

Sunday, August 8 — No Practice.

Monday, August 9 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Tuesday, August 10 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:50 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Wednesday, August 11 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Thursday, August 12 — Practice 8:50 – 10:55 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 13 — Preseason Week 1 vs. Kansas City 8 p.m.

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128 comments Add your comment

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
7:01 am

Last night I set my DVR to record the “Atlanta 2009 NFL Yearbook” on ESPN2. Later, when I settled down to watch it, I got last night night’s episode of “Wipeout”. Not much difference but Jill Wagner is easier on the eyes.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Sackmaster John Abraham determined to have big season http://bit.ly/d61Gw0 [...]

BKJ

August 6th, 2010
7:33 am

B4 – Big Red Balls?

BKJ

August 6th, 2010
7:38 am

I’m skeptical, but if Jamaal Anderson becomes a more consistent force at DE (and DT), then this D line could really dominate. Believe it when I see it, though.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 6th, 2010
7:45 am

BKJ — I understand. It looks like Jamaal is playing stronger. I didn’t ask Hamilton about it. He offered it up as one of his general camp observations. He’s a no B.S. type. If somebody is not performing he just won’t say anything. (One Queen Led’s computer. About to drive on out to practice this morning.)

Paddy

August 6th, 2010
7:55 am

Seenthis B4…you were told young lady to ask permission to play with boys. Now back to the cooking Network where you belong. Leave sports to the fellas!

J dubb

August 6th, 2010
7:58 am

D-LEd,
Can you tell if M TUrner looks noticably quicker since he’s come to work in better shape this year?
He is the key to the offense to be dangerous. The other D’s need to key in on our run in order for Ryan to be effective.

Charles J.

August 6th, 2010
8:10 am

Good read,DLed. Keep em comming dude.
And get rid of this B4 I well no I’m not going to say that, but what does it say about a person that claim to be a fan of another Team but stays on our Blog. I say B4 it’s ok if you can come out as a TRUE FALCON FAN first. It might make it easier to come out the other look around most of us don’t care ither way. lol

The Real Falcon

August 6th, 2010
8:23 am

Glad to see Anderson may make an impact. Still early though.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 6th, 2010
8:33 am

Yeah Yeah Yeah…..Abraham has hit the brick wall. He had a great career, but his time is over. Falcons need to get Schoenbl to take his place. They need tto get rid of jenkins too.

Monkalicious

August 6th, 2010
8:40 am

11th!!!

A Deion endorsement is right up there with a Corso endoresement on College Gameday. God help us.

Monkalicious

August 6th, 2010
8:42 am

Can somebody get Terrence Moore to come back and pee all over the good vibes I have for the Birds this yeat?

Monkalicious

August 6th, 2010
8:43 am

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
8:52 am

Charles J/Paddy: It says that I want to get to know the opposition; I will never, ever, say that I am a falcant fan, much less a True Falcant Fan. LOL!

What you guys are proposing is akin to asking the NFL to get rid of all the other teams in the NFL so that your team doesn’t get beat each week.

Lobbying DLed to get rid of me is not only unsportsmanlike, (15 yard penality and ejection!) it’s completely un-constitutional (Freedom of Speech) but it’s also just plain mean-spirited! What’samatter? You guys are just like the falcants: can’t take the competition and are quick to run up the white flag!

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

Paddy

August 6th, 2010
9:02 am

Seenthis B4…we like Freedom of Speech, we just don’t like you, little girl!

What are "violate hands"?...

August 6th, 2010
9:03 am

…re: Jamaal Anderson, DLed writes “He’s finally developing those violate hands that Hamilton preaches around”.

PreyDawg

August 6th, 2010
9:06 am

This is great info and is something we as hard core fans dont get from any other venue. Even with all the media that is available this is superior coverage. Thanks D-Led.

I am concerned about what Boudreau said. How can we not have chemistry on O-line. These are the same starting 5 we had last year? Is it only because it is early in camp and he is giving time to a whole bunch of new folk?

Party Dude

August 6th, 2010
9:12 am

Sorry Abraham, in Midtown I’m already known as the Sackmaster!!

PMC

August 6th, 2010
9:13 am

John Abraham was pretty good last year. He was getting to the QB… they were just releasing early because we couldn’t cover anyone for more than 3 seconds. He and Biermann should have huge seasons this year if they stay healthy. I feel a lot better about JA98 when he is inside and primarily stopping the run. He’s good at that. Jerry is a beast. Babs is fantastic and can rush the pass from the inside.

Coach Saban Rules !

August 6th, 2010
9:14 am

The Falcons winning the Super Bowl?

Are you kidding me?

The Falcons couldn’t even win the SEC West.

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
9:14 am

Falcons 12-4, at least, in 2010.

Party Dude

August 6th, 2010
9:16 am

Coach Saban gets cornholed by his O line every Thursday!

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
9:23 am

The Mighty Falcons will be 6-0, against it’s opponents in the NFC South, in 2010.

Doug Marley

August 6th, 2010
9:33 am

D-Led, how are the injured guys looking(Moore,Jerry,Douglas)? Also, I think this camp is all about establishing and improving overall team depth. Our starters are set and will take us all the way ; we just have to avoid injuries.

Ken Strickland

August 6th, 2010
9:39 am

If you assess the last 3 drafts under TD and Smitty, and how unbelievably fast their draft picks have developed and contributed, it definitely shows they know how the recognize and develop talent. It also means they saw something in DE JAnderson that caused them to be patient with him even though he was slow to develop. They continued working with him and it seems to be finally paying off.

I’m so glad they didn’t become overly emotional and impatient with him. Unlike so many of our Falcon fans, they focused on what he could do well, and patiently worked on what he didn’t do well. There should be a lesson in their for some of our GET IT DONE NOW and/or INSTANT GRADIFICATION fans.

Now I understand why DE JAbraham felt he didn’t play any different last yr than he did when he registered 16.5 sacks. Last yr he ranked 2nd in the NFL in QB pressures with 39, which meant he was only a half step from a sack 39 times.

The difference between him getting 16.5 in 08 and 5.5 in 09 wasn’t the lack of a pass rush last yr as much as an adjustment that was made by the opposition. OFF’s started getting the ball out of their QB’s hands quicker by shortening their routes and throwing more quick hitting passes. This adjustment reduced the time JAbraham had to get to the QB. Therefore, what often ended up as a sack in 08, became a QB pressure in 09.

With this yrs vast improvement in talent, experience and depth at CB, along with our increased interior pass rushing ability, we’ll be able to consistently force QB’s to get rid of the ball prematurely or hold on to it too long. Even with our injuries, as well as our lack of experience and depth on DEF last yr, our DEF was better than the AINTS, and we were solid against the run.

Everyone, including DELUSIONAL AINT FANS, knows our DEF will be far better than last yrs DEF. However, no one can say the same about the AINTS SORRY DEF. If fact, they’ll have all kinds of trouble just coming close to equaling last yrs 25th ranked DEF.

You can tell by their reactions, and often over reactions to certain players and situations, that some of our Falcon fans are so lost. They think they really know a lot about football, but they actually don’t. Comparing what they know about football is like comparing window shopping, which limits what they see and experience, to actually going inside the store, walking around, getting info from the sales people, and trying on the merchandise.

Both the Falcons and JAnderson will be just fine.

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
9:41 am

Atl will start the season at 0-1, losing to the steelers who won’t even have Roethlisberger behind center. They’ll struggle against the cardinals but should win that one, and then the falcants are going to get pulverized by the Saints.

SLY

August 6th, 2010
9:42 am

If Peria Jackson could get healthy and produce, along with J. Babs that should help J. Abraham to get back to sacking the QB. Crossing my fingers if ( the bust) J. Anderson can return to the pass rusher he was in Arkansas then what we will have is a dominate defensive line. The speed and tenacity of Spoon, Lofton the head hunter, and the wise & tenacious M. Pterson can shut the run down and defend short passes. The secondary can sit back lick there fingers and feast on arrant passes from oppossing QB’s. Man this sound like a fantasy compared to last season, but if all is true- CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sound like another Falcons first down!…Touchdown!…Dallas Bound!

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
9:50 am

Kenneth: The falcants are like Dollar Tree, do you really need to go in the store to see the lack of quality? I think not.

Your 21st ranked defense from last year hasn’t improved, you make a claim that it has, but it hasn’t defensed a single pass or run this year. You added a rookie OLB, a has been CB, and a returning injured DT that is essentially still a rookie and that may not yet be 100% and may never get there again, and you’re beating your chest as if you have rediscovered the steel curtain. Here’s some wake up news: You haven’t, your essay is nothing more than a cyber smoke screen.

You guys are running scared and you know it. You have a soft defense that is going to get pushed around like soft pudding.

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
10:01 am

If the saints end 2010 at 8-8, they will have been extremely lucky.
The saints will probably finish 5-11.
When they meet the Mighty Falcons, the saints will be 0-2.
When the Mighty Falcons leave town, the saints will be 0-3.

FalconUGAFan

August 6th, 2010
10:06 am

@SeenThisB4-No problem you can stay. Say what you want, but you are the one on our board not the other way around. :) We are improving. Just 2-3 years ago, we were in shambles. Your Saints or Steelers (who do you root for again) didn’t improve overnight and neither will we. I have every confidence in the team that AB has built. I think we will be around for years to come. Should be interesting.

DJ Sniper

August 6th, 2010
10:06 am

I just love how Saints fans are predicting an absolute massacre of the Falcons by their team. They seem to forget how close we played them in both games last season, especially the second game when we had quite a few backups playing key positions. I know it’s hard for them to admit, but this defense has improved. We have a lot of depth at DT, our LB’s are young and hungry, and the secondary will not be a liability like it was last season.

Another thing to remember is that Brian Van Gorder will be able to throw out more blitzes and other defensive tricks. He couldn’t do that over the last two seasons because he didn’t have the type of players that he wanted.

Make no mistake: the Saints will be a tough team in 2010, but the Falcons will be right up there with them.

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
10:21 am

FalconUGAFan: They aren’t in camp to get worse, they’re suppose to improve. But, the falcants are a threat, so, the best way to squash that threat? Get to know it’s weakness, and exploit it.

DJ Sniper: Your analogy is wrong. Just cause your team scored enough points to make a final score look competitive, doesn’t mean it actual was. Saints beat the falcants twice last year, falcants beat the bucs twice last year, does that mean the Saints will beat the bucs twice? Because the Saints lost one to Tampa. Playing them close doesn’t mean squat, and it certainly is no indication of what the results of this year’s games will be.

The only valid comparison is current roster head to head comparisons, and right now, the Saints roster is overwhelmingly superior to the falcant roster. It’s not even close. Even the coaching ability is heavily skewed toward the Saints. That’s why the indication that the Saints will massacre (as you put it) the falcants exists, not because of last year’s games.

FalconUGAFan

August 6th, 2010
10:41 am

So you are a secret agent sent by the Saints organization to spy on the Falcons via DLed’s blog. And you will accomplish that by taunting Falcons fans? Hmm…clever…very clever….

Birdword

August 6th, 2010
10:45 am

I think you got that roster thing backwards. On paper and on the field, the Falcons are superior to the Aints.

DJ Sniper

August 6th, 2010
10:47 am

I don’t know what games you watched, but both of our games vs. the Saints were competitive. Your team did not go out and just score TD after TD while we were going 3 and out every time. The Monday night game in New Orleans came down to the last play, and the Saints defense did it’s job then. The Saints did NOT blow us out of the water like they did with the Giants and Patriots.

With a improved defense, a healthy roster, and some good play calling from our OC, we will beat the Saints in 2010.

Birdword

August 6th, 2010
10:53 am

I can’t think of a Saint that I like to have on our roster in place of our player. Certainly not that shorty qb for Matt Ryan.

waynester

August 6th, 2010
11:00 am

NFL.com/stats/ series history
ATL vs. NO Regular season 44-37 Points scored 1,765-1,626
Post season 1-0
The record speaks for itself…….

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:17 am

DJ Sniper@10:06am…….I diagree with your assessment of the saints.
I think that the saints peaked in 2010. Their QB had a career yr., along with most of his recievers.
I don’t think that the saints will be very tough in 2010, and they will not get the favorable treatment that they have enjoyed post-Katrina.
saint 5-11, 2010.

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:21 am

I think that T.O. would have been an improvement for the saints.

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:23 am

And when I say favorable treatment, I am talking about the NFL, and it’s officiating personel.

El Bravo

August 6th, 2010
11:25 am

I just looked it up in the dictionary:
“violate hands” = please see Ben Rothlisberger…

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:25 am

And, by the way, Tampa Bay will beat N.O. twice(2 times), in 2010, and finish behind the Bucs in the NFC South.

PMC

August 6th, 2010
11:26 am

The Steelers are going to get absolutely stomped at home to open the season.

Byron Leftwich will take 10 seconds to release passes and that offensive line is swiss cheese. The Falcons are going to make a statement in Pittsburgh.

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:27 am

Those gold pants, and that gold helmut would have fit T.O. to a tee.

blord

August 6th, 2010
11:31 am

I have no problem with Saints fans coming on this board as long as they return and take their medicine when the tide turns. They have bragging rights at the moment.
I’m getting excited about the dline. Abraham will be fine since our secondary should be improved. I feel confident with Sid and Beerman holding up the other end position. If JA98 has finally matured into a capable player then our 3 and long package will be downright unfair with him sliding over to tackle. Our defense should be vast improved. One thing people often overlook is the birds played really well against the run last year with the exception of 1 game. I expect Spoon to create big plays and look forward to seeing what Jerry and Moore can bring to the table. Should be a fun year!

blord

August 6th, 2010
11:32 am

El Bravo,
LOL, Bravo!

rekingball

August 6th, 2010
11:44 am

The saint have reached the top of mountain last season.
Now they are going to slide down the other side, this season.

Birdman

August 6th, 2010
11:56 am

The only reason the Saints’ fans talk a lot of trash to us is because their afraid of our team and what we’re becoming. That’s all it is. Do you see them trashing the Lions or the Rams? Or the Bucs? Nah they’re over on the Falcons’ page and writing bad things about us. I mean be real Saint fans, we lost to you guys both times, yes, but guess what the combined point total for both losses was…11 points! That’s right. You guys beat us only by 11 points in both games COMBINED! First game we lost 35-27 which is 8 points, and the 2nd game we lost 26-23 which is 3 points. Add that up and you only beat us by an 11 point margin combining those games. Oh and BTW in that 2nd game, yea the one where we almost outlasted you, we didn’t have our starting QB, RB, RG, and our defense stunk yet we STILL came within 3 points of beating you guys and if it wasn’t for Chris Redman throwing right in front of the first down marker for Snelling to get tackled then we could have won. So I wouldn’t talk too much. We’re much improved this season. I expect us to sweep the Saints in 2010.

SeenThisB4

August 6th, 2010
11:59 am

rekingball: The Saints didn’t just reach the top of the mountain, they claimed it, all of it, and are building their dwelling at the top there.

Hey PMC: If your team actually gives Byron Leftwich 10 seconds to release his passes, there definitely will be a statement made, by Arthur Blank, on the firing of his defensive coordinator.

Birdman

August 6th, 2010
11:59 am

Ask Drew Brees how it feels to get smacked right in front of the homecrowd! I loved the expression on Brees’ face when he got up and had to adjust his helmet after DeCoud smacked him right in the mouth and forced a fumble. Was Drew embarrassed or just hurting? I think both! lol GO FALCONS!