Smith to unleash the Predator in New York

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards dunks fellow defensive end John Abraham during a postgame interview following a his best performance of the year in a 41-14 victory over the Jaguars at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards dunks fellow defensive end John Abraham during a postgame interview following a his best performance of the year in a 41-14 victory over the Jaguars at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive end John “The Predator” Abraham will be like a NASCAR race car and have his restrictor plate removed for the wild-card playoff game against the New York Giants at 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“We’ve had him on a play count all season long, and now it’s an opportunity for us to go and extend his snaps as we get into the postseason,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

During the season, the Falcons freely rotated in Kroy Biermann with Abraham and Ray Edwards. Abraham suffered a minor groin injury in second game of the season, but continued to play. He has a history of groin injuries, and with the low snap count he started 15 of 16 games.

Without a play-count limitation, the Falcons plan to unleash Abraham, who leads the team with 9.5 sacks, for the entire game.

“They have a good line, but everything is pretty much controlled by [quarterback] Eli [Manning],” Abraham said. “He does a good job of getting the ball out. He recognizes rushes. He recognizes pressure. He does a good job of helping them out a lot.”

Abraham, 33, was fine with the play count. By being held back, he recovered more quickly from the groin injury and showed that he could still turn the corner against Jacksonville on Dec. 15, when he had 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Giants’ offensive line allowed 28 sacks during the regular-season, seventh lowest in the league. Abraham knows it will be a challenge to put pressure on Manning.

“He’s a smart guy,” Abraham said. “He does a great job with the play action fakes. He does a good job of getting the ball out quick. In order for us to have a good day, we actually are going to have to get in his face and try to get him to move out of the pocket.”

Abraham started his career in the Big Apple playing for the New York Jets. He has been with the Falcons since 2006. He’s not looking at the game as any kind of homecoming.

“It’s not the same, but it’s going to be fun to go back to New York,” Abraham said.

Abraham played in the old Giants Stadium. MetLife Stadium, the new stadium, is in the same area.

“The big thing is trying not to worry about the cold,” Abraham said. “It’s going to be cold. It’s cold here now. Hopefully, the mental thing won’t get to them. Once you start playing in all of the cold or heat, it really doesn’t matter.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

65 comments Add your comment

Ackshun

January 6th, 2012
5:08 am

F 2da I 2da RST!

Ackshun

January 6th, 2012
5:11 am

Abe should come up big. And we need him too badly. I think the Falcons did a good thing locking up Gonzales the other players pending free agency will be motivated to play their butts off to up their next contract whether its here or somewhere else.

Rationale

January 6th, 2012
5:37 am

I hope the entire Falcon defense has a great game. I have been wondering how they would react after the Giants complaints on the defense. I will be listening while on the road.

HardyFalcon

January 6th, 2012
5:55 am

the Giants have been an up and down team all year. Our defense needs to step up their play big time. If we can rattle Eli early, then he will be out of rythmn and play poorly. Hopefully, Matt will man up and show all the critics that he doesn’t fold under pressure and have a break out game, not only for his self, but the entire Falcon Team—GO FALCONS YOU OLD DIRT BAGS!!!!!!!

BIG JIM

January 6th, 2012
6:26 am

we need more then abe we need everybody the DT need to get there hands up in the passing lane if they can’t get to the QB and stop playing patty cake with the O-LINE because we need a pass rush go falcons.

Larry

January 6th, 2012
6:35 am

That’s a start by Smith but not exactly a declaration of overall aggressiveness.

Will he have Mularkey unleash Matt Ryan?

Will he and BVG unleash the entire defense or again sit back in their soft zone and get it handed to them, hoping for mistakes more than forcing them?

We’ll see!

hiramsaint

January 6th, 2012
6:36 am

i didn’t know the model t ford had a restrictor plate. it did have a choke though and i see that coming more into play in the cold of met-life stadium LOL LOL LOL

just sayin'

January 6th, 2012
6:53 am

unleash melt?….melt has been able to call his ‘own’ plays all year…when have you ever seen him to walk to the line and run a play?..he audibles out of every play…points to the ‘check down’ spot and throws it short…or hand off to burnout…

Double Zero Eight

January 6th, 2012
7:06 am

Action speaks louder than words….talk is cheap.
Go Falcons!

Falcons4Eva

January 6th, 2012
7:07 am

Why don’t Smith unleash SMITH ! ! or how about Unleashing Van Gorder as in Fire Him. This soft zone defense is going to cost of this game – (along with our inability to handle the defensive front of the Giants).

Giants 27, Hawks 17

Michael M.

January 6th, 2012
7:18 am

Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! This was funny !
You think Big Abe has enough fuel in the Tank to go full speed for 4 full Quarters of Football against those big ole boys that have on the line ?
What they need is Ray Edwards to step it up and help em out on that one since he isn’t what they thought he was and well we know Babineaux and Biermann will be up to task but come on mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn step up to the plate Ray ! ! ! !

I am still laughing, but I think Atlanta can pull this one out and get the Win this weekend they play hard ! Just Win Baby !

Michael M.

January 6th, 2012
7:26 am

One other thing forgot to mention …….I hope Coach Smitty comes up with something huge on the offense this weekend that we haven’t seen this Season….something the Giants haven’t seen on replay film . They need to surprise them guys up there on defense with some kind of trick plays or something and catch those balls Julio and White and we be okay ……………

Atlanta 30—Giants 27

Michael M.

January 6th, 2012
7:28 am

meant offense ,,,I am just getting woke up..lol

SimpleDawg

January 6th, 2012
7:44 am

It’s gonna be a big game for Falcon O-Line and D-Line…..win those battles, and they win the war.

Season Ticket Holder

January 6th, 2012
7:53 am

Falcons will win big!

Always High

January 6th, 2012
7:55 am

Larry, why aren’t you a head coach or GM in the NFL? I mean since you have it all figured out your phone should be ringing off the hook with all of these openings.

Saints R.E.A.M.

January 6th, 2012
8:06 am

I just saw a replay of Ray Edwards box some little out of shape guy in a boxing match. It was a silly exhibition. Ray needs to work on his profession instead of boxing.

Smitty might want to unleash him too. Should be a fun game to watch though….Smitty going for it on 4rth down and all.

Michael M.

January 6th, 2012
8:09 am

They better unleash something up there or come back home and the Fans will be unleashing something on them…………lmao

Ed

January 6th, 2012
8:10 am

I think Abraham is as fresh as he’s ever been this late in the season an I think that’s going to payoff big time. To me most of the pressure against a QB like Eli needs to come from up the middle with Babs and Peters and allow Abe and Ray to come off the edge and collapse the pocket. I think the D steps up in a big way on Sunday and the Falcons come away with a playoff win.

Samuel

January 6th, 2012
8:16 am

I’m not concerned with John Abraham or Corey Peters, but Ray Ewards and company have to show up. We have to get a push from the interior line. It is of the most importance for Matty Ice to get the ball out fast and the offensive line to keep him clean.

Doc Dawg

January 6th, 2012
8:16 am

How about unleashing William Moore on a safety blitz and knocking Eli out of the game?

Falcon Red

January 6th, 2012
8:39 am

I second that, Doc!

Falcons4Eva

January 6th, 2012
8:45 am

ALL FANS of the ATLANTA SPORTS TEAM –

Read this ROB PARKER crappy article about us ATLANTA FANS (Braves, Falcons, Hawks) – and tell him to go screw himself!

http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7429623/the-city-atlanta-worst-sports-town-america

JONESBORO SLIM

January 6th, 2012
8:45 am

Ok…if the d-line tackles give us the pressure up the middle forcing Manning to the right or left and Abe and Edwards are guarding the corners….games over….keep in mine that Abe is going to be double teamed leaving everyone else one on one…..I like it ..what do you think?

Redwave

January 6th, 2012
8:46 am

I guess “Choke” doesn’t get up this early. We’ll hear from him after momma wakes up his sorry butt and tells him he needs a shower–then it’s time for his oatmeal and oj.

SirReal

January 6th, 2012
8:51 am

@Hirams Ant LOL LOL LOL@ Model T. I gotta give it to ya. That was pretty funny.

Rick

January 6th, 2012
8:53 am

Unleash Danta Robinson from that Zone because Cruz nor Nicks are all that speedy…he can man both….the zone just confuses Danta

AlanFalcon

January 6th, 2012
8:57 am

It might be good to unleash Edwards as he has had the year off and hasn’t contributed squat !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JONESBORO SLIM

January 6th, 2012
9:02 am

So much talk about the weather…thats not going to really affect the Falcons….. the body builds up heat…now if its raining thats a problem for both teams….and like said earlier the pressure is on NY to come through for the home town…when they lose Sunday their fans will run them out town…..can I get an Amen?

Old White Haired Man

January 6th, 2012
9:07 am

Ivan

January 6th, 2012
9:35 am

Redwave,

I think “choke” is banned from Mr. Ledbetter’s blog. He actually thinks Falcons fans shouldn’t have to filter out 1000 spamming troll posts to actually talk about the topic with other fans.

PMC

January 6th, 2012
9:49 am

Why does Ray Edwards still wear pads from Minnesota? He can’t buy a set of pads that fits well and is red and black?

JONESBORO SLIM

January 6th, 2012
10:08 am

@PMC…maybe its because he’s “Broken them in” and they feel good….its like a new pair of shoes

Mr. Belichick

January 6th, 2012
10:22 am

He won’t get a sack.

crackbaby

January 6th, 2012
10:28 am

Sacks are overrated – the D-Line just needs to disrupt Eli and the Giants offense.

The Falcons O-Line is the key to this game. They need to step up big time – plenty of weapons to use if the front five do their job.

Jake

January 6th, 2012
10:53 am

Defense will be the reason we win this game. Expect exotic blitz packages, and things to keep the Giants in front of us at all times. No big plays. And we win the game.

Rob Parker

January 6th, 2012
10:58 am

Hey, DOL!

Please tell your readers that everything I say about Atlanta sports fans here is true. Thanks, buddy.

http://espn.go.com/newyork/conversations/_/id/7429623/the-city-atlanta-worst-sports-town-america

just sayin'

January 6th, 2012
11:16 am

there was an expectation that DL pressure would come up the middle against Brees…how’d that work out?…don’t expect much pressure from the middle of the DL..they haven’t been able to do that all year…

New York Nail

January 6th, 2012
11:18 am

Sacks are overrated,,, Really,, you mean kinda like touchdown passes are overated,,,,

Rob Parker Petition

January 6th, 2012
11:18 am

I have started a Petition to get the Rob Parker article taken down. He is very insulting to all of us Atlanta fans and he shouldn’t be allowed to write this garbage through ESPN. So if you haven’t read the article the link is in this comment section above and go here to Petition it:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Petition-Rob-Parker-and-ESPN/124618130989820

PMC

January 6th, 2012
12:11 pm

They mostly need to get their hands up and disrupt throwing lanes.

George

January 6th, 2012
12:50 pm

I am a BRAVES fan who posts regularly on thier blog and am also a pro football fan. I am SHOCKED to see the NFL has changed its overtime rules for the playoffs. Could someone please tell me what the new rule is? I cannot find it. Thank you.

just sayin'

January 6th, 2012
1:04 pm

changed it because the saints won the NFC champ game with a field goal on first possession….now each team gets a shot if one makes a field goal on first drive in OT….

Sausage King of Chicago

January 6th, 2012
1:53 pm

Justin can go Tuck himself!

Stevie B

January 6th, 2012
1:55 pm

I stand by my original comment. Baby Manning is going to need eyes in the back of his head this week. He is a marked man! We won’t need to worry about our secondary when Baby Manning is on the ground crying. He will be Tebowing before the second half starts!

mangocrazy

January 6th, 2012
2:30 pm

Ryan needs to man up, grow some guts. Time to take an attitude that will NOT allow a loss.
This team has the talent to go all the way. Need 4 quarters of intensity.

good old joe

January 6th, 2012
2:48 pm

I HOPE THE FALCONS WILL GO TO N.Y AND PLAY RELAX, ODD ARE FALCONS & 3 .I HOPE THE WEATHER IS DRY, RUN THE BALL LET TURNER GET 100 YRDS.THE FALCONS WILL WIN.
GO FALCON WINN THIS ONE, BY 2 TOUCHDOWNS

Big Blue G-Men

January 6th, 2012
3:47 pm

Sooner or later, if you play dirty and are unsportsmanlike, someone will come in and crush you, for the sake of the rest of the league.

You turkeys are known for being unfair and lacking class, and the Giants are known for tremendous responsibility to everything the NFL stands for, geeez – they don’t even have Cheerleaders as Mr. Mara felt it disrespectful to women… As soon as the bullet left Plax’s chamber into his leg, he did not have one to stand on as far as ever being a Giant again. The clean up crew is coming….time to pay your dues…..Tax collector Eli is coming to town……

Big Blue G-Men

January 6th, 2012
3:47 pm

You filthy turd birds are gonna get what you deserve…..a taste of your own medicine.

Served right up NYC style…..During DLine practice this week, the Giants OLine was watching and Chris Snee commented “Can you imagine if we had to deal with that”.

Osi and Tuck as bookends, with JPP and Kiawanuka in the middle…..take that…4 screaming pass rushers……..You guys are toast

Jay Dubu

January 6th, 2012
4:10 pm

Just get it done…no conversation needed, we’ll wait to see the results.

Don’t want to hear any excuses afterwards, and anything short of a victory is a failure.

As Al Davis would say, “Just Win, Baby!”