Falcons: Hamilton elated to have Abraham back

Falcons defensive line coach Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton dropping some knowledge on my recorder after the final day of the rookie minicamp. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons defensive line coach Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton dropping some knowledge on my recorder after the final day of the rookie minicamp. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND – Here’s some Ray Hamilton from the rookie minicamp that I didn’t get to share with you all.

Hamilton, the defensive line coach, shared some insight on his players and how some of the defensive package will change.

ON ROOKIE JONATHAN MASSAQUOI: “He performed like we thought he would. He’s a guy that has some pass rush traits. Some pass rush ability. A lot of times those guys look really, really good with no pads on. Which, they are supposed to, seriously. If they are a pass rusher, then you’re supposed to look good when you have no pads on and he looked really good with no pads on. He’s a quick, explosive guy. He showed the ability to learn in our system. It’s just a matter of him picking up the system and blending in. When we put the pads on, when the real stuff starts, we’ll see how he does.”

ON ROOKIE TRAVIAN ROBERTSON: “He’s a big guy that can move. He’s the biggest guy that we’ve had in camp since we’ve been here. But he’s a big guy that can move. A big, strong guy at the point of attack. He may be the strongest guy on the team. . . He looks good in there.”

ON DEFENSIVE END RAY EDWARDS: “Ray was a little bit hurt last year. He came in after knee surgery. He came into a new system, but I thought that last year he was still a pretty productive player [against] the run. He was one of our best guys effort-wise. He played hard all of the time. This year, his second year in the same system — well most of the same system — he’s coming back, he should be fine this year. I expect him to do fine and get better.”

ON DEFENSIVE END LAWRENCE SIDBURY: “He’s a guy that, we’ve got a good group of young defensive ends, him and (Cliff) Matthews, those guys this year have to come back, improve and show that they can be productive day-in and day-out and help us out a little bit. We expect him and Matthews to come in and compete for jobs.”

ON NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE NOLAN: “We’ll have a pressure-type defense. If you are pressing, then you are sending other people. You are sending some linebackers and defensive backs and stuff like that. It’s kind of like the Jets. The sacks are going to be spread around. If you are only rushing four guys, then your sacks are going to be mostly with your defensive line. In our system, we have other guys rushing and coming in there like that. The whole key is to put pressure on the quarterback. This is a quarterback-driven league. The whole key is to put pressure on the quarterback and make him have to make quick decisions. Hopefully, he’ll make some wrong decisions and then we’ll get some interceptions, sacks and everybody will be productive.”

ON DEFENSIVE END JOHN ABRAHAM RE-SIGNING: “He’s an amazing guy. We were watching tape and at 34 years old, he can still do some things that I see young guys can’t do. We don’t expect him to slow down at all. He’s doing his rehab. He does his rehab program every offseason. His strengthening program. He’s phenomenal. He’s a rare pass rushing breed and he can still do that very well.”

ON IF THEY HAVE TO COUNT ABRAHAM’S SNAPS BECAUSE OF HIS AGE: “We have a rotation on the defensive line. In a 60-snap game, he’s probably playing about 40 to 45 snaps, which is good for him. It keeps him going and keeps him fresh. Now, if a team is passing more, then he’s going to get more snaps. He can play the run and he can play the pass, so we just try to (rotate) him. . . Every team in the league now has seven or eight defensive linemen that they play. You try to roll those guys (into the game) and keep them fresh. We are the only people, besides the offensive line on the field that is making contact and wrestling with somebody on every single snap, so that wears your ass out.”

ON DEFENSIVE END KROY BIERMANN DROPPING INTO COVERAGE MORE, PLAYING SOME HYBRID LINEBACKER: “He can do some things. I don’t’ know how much we’re going to be doing that with him. He can do some things in some different categories that we haven’t done in the past in our defense. He’ll be a guy that can do some things, but I don’t know how much of it we’re going to be doing.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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42 comments Add your comment


May 29th, 2012
8:25 am

Thanks DLed.

I’m looking forward to the new defensive system. It can’t be any….never mind.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 29th, 2012
8:36 am

dean – You’re welcome.

Rev Al Sharpton

May 29th, 2012
8:54 am

How long until Peyton Manning shows up?????

Section 322

May 29th, 2012
8:56 am

D-Led…Any news on the expectations for Akeem Dent???


May 29th, 2012
8:59 am

Im looking forward to what the D will do this year.. I cant wait to see people fear our D.

The Voice of Reason

May 29th, 2012
9:10 am

Great job as always DLed! Sugar Bear is a funny dude, I like his style…


May 29th, 2012
9:14 am

How does it feel to have the only proven pass rusher on the team back?

Oh, it feels good man, it feels good.


May 29th, 2012
9:15 am

Sometimes the defense has to gamble more, last year we had problems getting the quarterback off his spot. That led to the some teams picking us apart….

Big Dude

May 29th, 2012
9:19 am

Thanks for putting somethong new on your page, D. Led.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

May 29th, 2012
9:24 am

Both the coaches and the players will need to step it up this year or it might no be so funny come early Jan. Just saying. Mr. Blank has two plans and some folks will not like plan #2.


May 29th, 2012
9:41 am


St Simons - now with hamster power!

May 29th, 2012
9:44 am

I’m getting a good vibe from the defensive side, thank you DLed

but if we don’t get a left tackle & a right guard, its gonna be u-gly.

abby normal

May 29th, 2012
9:54 am

I’m sure coach Hamilton understands what he’s saying…….I’m not sure I do.


May 29th, 2012
9:56 am

Any word on Cliff Matthews and his progression?


May 29th, 2012
10:01 am

hey did yaw hear nick fairley got a dui lmao


May 29th, 2012
10:14 am

Thanks for the report. I get the impression D Led that for some reason they STILL aren’t completely sold on Sidbury even though we’ve all seen he has skills. Did he sleep with a coach’s wife or something?lol

Double Zero Eight

May 29th, 2012
10:33 am

Sounds good and looks good on paper.
“Actions speak louder than words”.
I hope these changes negate good
quarterbacks having the time to pick
our secondary apart.


May 29th, 2012
11:26 am

I am pretty sure that the defensive side is better than last year but still the defensive backs are the most concern though…as far as the linebackers and tackles, we are fine.

Jeff B

May 29th, 2012
11:44 am

I hope Hamilton is on top of things, because we’re going to need elite production out of our d-line, if our defense is going to grow the new, fierce identity that we want it to!


May 29th, 2012
12:21 pm

Sounds like either Matthews or Sidbury is on the practice squad.

Sausage King of Chicago

May 29th, 2012
12:37 pm

“He’ll be a guy that can do some things, but I don’t know how much of it we’re going to be doing.”


May 29th, 2012
12:46 pm

DLed, give me some insight on what the deal is with Matthews and Sidbury. Is this the year? Do we get to see one or perhaps both of these guys make a BIG contribution on D? I know we have to be at a point where all the “development” talk is out the window and we now see how well our D Coaches have developed these players!

The Shogun of Harlem

May 29th, 2012
1:12 pm

Kim Z said the same thing!

Birdman of Falcatraz

May 29th, 2012
1:19 pm

Still not sold on this defensive end group as a whole. There will be a waiver wire pickup somewhere before opening day I hope. Hate to see us throw another year away with the core of this team becuase we cannot sack Brees, or Rodgers, or Eli or Tavaris Jackson for chrissakes.

[...] The Falcons are expected to keep DE John Abraham on a snap count this season. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) [...]


May 29th, 2012
1:49 pm

McNasty….I don’t know about Mathews but I don’t think Sibury would quaify for a spot on the practice squad.

just sayin'

May 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

@DK….i don’t think ‘fear’ and this ‘D’ has been spoken in the same sentence lately…

Big Crimson 75

May 29th, 2012
2:33 pm

This is the Falcons Year!!
Smitty/Ice & TD will get their Playoff W & then some.
Julio will be a FORCE — Bank it!!

As for the D — trust Nolan — the guy can Coach, He’s proven it over his career. This will be the best D of the Smitty era!!


May 29th, 2012
2:42 pm

love the article and the new d system that is what i was talking about pressure the qb! not standing in zon the whole day and get destroy my only question is who is our MLB LOFA OR DENT?


May 29th, 2012
2:46 pm

i love it man! i love the attitude if we can be something like the jets d will be fine, plus matt was working on the weight room! so thos can be a good season

just sayin'

May 29th, 2012
3:33 pm

so…will there be any ‘progress’ charts from the weight room?..

just sayin'

May 29th, 2012
3:36 pm

might be interesting to compare to his results from when he went through the draft combine….that might be kept kinda close to the vest, so to speak…

big t

May 29th, 2012
4:06 pm

I think ray is keeping it close to the vest its aparrent there going to do some new things


May 29th, 2012
5:54 pm

“This year, his second year in the system-well, mostly the same system”

Troubling statement. How much more of the same system?

Falcon Jim

May 29th, 2012
7:39 pm

I hope there are significant changes to the system.

Banned by Dled

May 29th, 2012
8:56 pm


May 29th, 2012
9:53 pm

@Falcon Jim

Could not agree with you more. That statement by Ray is a bit confusing considering he talked about how Nolan plans on bringing the heat.


May 30th, 2012
8:56 am

I think there will be new changes to the D system. He can’t talk about it all right now. You have to keep other teams at bay.

[...] Falcons: Hamilton elated to have Abraham back (blogs.ajc.com) [...]

[...] me a fool, a tea leaf reader or a flummoxed writer searching for topics if you will, but I believe Ray Hamilton’s praise of Travian Robertson is the real deal. That doesn’t mean I think he’s going to win a starting job or even [...]


May 30th, 2012
10:33 pm

ON DEFENSIVE END RAY EDWARDS: He played hard all of the time.

How can that be…….”take a play off Ray”!!


May 31st, 2012
1:46 pm

Pressure on the quarterback!!! Music to my ears that has be one on the Falcons lacking areas on defense!!!