Repeat Year for Abraham? Can Davis Start?

 

Will Abraham Have a Repeat Performance?

Pro-Bowl Worthy Year (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

Pro-Bowl Worthy Year (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

John Abraham had one of the best years in his career last year, avoiding injury, and getting a serious snub from the Pro-Bowl committee. By far and away one of the best defensive ends in the NFL last year. Abraham had 16.5 sacks and was the driving force for the Falcons pass rush last year, collaring roughly more than half the sacks than the rest of the entire team combined (34 total sacks). He had some help from Babineaux creating havoc on his side, but had zero help in terms of disruption from the other side with Grady Jackson having 2 sacks and Jamaal Anderson having two total sacks. After fighting injury problems and so-so years as a Falcon, Abraham obviously took to Coach Smith, Coach Van Gorder’s style, and Sugar Bear Hamilton’s guidance. His run stopping ability may not be superior, but his pass rushing skills are paramount. In all likelihood, Smith and Van Gorder will give Abraham a heavy rotation with either Biermann or Davis. Smith did a good job of keeping Abraham fresh enough for him to have one of his best years in his career. A look at Abraham’s career averages as a New York Jet compared with his most recent year as a Falcon:

New York Jets (Average)
Games Started – 12; Total Tackles – 44; Sacks – 9

Falcons – 2008
Games Started – 16; Total Tackles – 38; Sacks – 16.5

Leadership Gap?

An Issue with Leadership? (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

An Issue with Leadership? (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

Abraham’s age may be a concern, but with years of 16.5 sacks, who can argue with production. He was one of the only players to miss OTA’s (off-season training Coach Smith may have no problems with his absence, but that misses the greater point with some of the fanbase. Many feel that he should want to be there to guide this new defense to another level and help mentor many of the new guys coming into starting and playing roles. It is not evident that he doesn’t already do that, but it surely isn’t advertised or discussed if that is the case. With his age and experience, Abraham should be the heart and soul of the defense and be ready to step in to fill a huge leadership gap with 5 new starters on defense, possibly up to 7 new rookies, and 3 to 4 second year players. The departure of Milloy and Brooking created a large vacuum for leadership on and off the field. Even though he may be leading by example, he is definitely not a vocal leader and big force in the locker room that commands the team’s attention and can steer them in right direction if they go astray. Some think that Abraham should realize the opportunity he has in front of him, particularly brining in Tony Gonzalez, and seize the last best chance to win the Lombardi Trophy. 

 

Fair Shot for Chauncey?

Time to Start?  (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

Time to Start? (Curtis Compton/AJC.com)

One of the lesser publicized transactions of the free agency period was the Falcons resigning Chauncey Davis. Even though it may have gone unnoticed in the national media market, it surely didn’t escape Falcons fans. Davis is a favorite to many fans, even though only playing when the starting defensive ends either took a breather or had an injury. There is good reason Davis is well-liked by so many fans in Atlanta. He has played in every single game since wearing a Falcons uniform after being drafted in 2005, even starting 13 games in 2006. With limited playing time, the guy just makes plays when he’s in the game. He has a nose for the football and a penchant for always coming up with a big play just when the Falcons need it (2 of his 4 sacks came in the pivotal late-season Carolina game). Davis registered 4 sacks and 38 Total Tackles in partial time on the field, which Anderson detractors are quick to point out. He has always been counted on to be a solid backup defensive end since being drafted by Jimmy Mora and has definitely made the most of the small amount of time he’s been given. A look at his career stats:

Games Played – 64; Games Started – 19; Total Tackles – 132; Sacks – 8

During negotiations it was led to believe that his agent wanted some type of guarantee that Davis would get a fair shot to win the starting defensive end spot outright. His contract represents it (4 years, $14 million). Looking purely at base salary from last year, a few players that Davis is due to earn more than: Aaron Kampman, Shaun Ellis, and Mario Williams (not total contract, just yearly average). His base salary jumped from $927,000 a year to roughly $3.5 Million. Seems high to be a pure backup. At a minimum, his contract looks to be an insurance to Abraham’s age and injury history. As mentioned in earlier posts, Dimitroff and Coach Smith want to make this the most competitive training camp, perhaps in Atlanta Falcons history. Outside of a couple of obvious locks to be starters, competition is widespread throughout the team, all the way down to the 53rd spot on the team and even potentially to the practice squad. The coaching staff obviously felt Anderson needed the competition when they resigned Davis and drafted Lawrence Sidbury Jr. Although the coaching staff promises a fair competition, Anderson will likely be given more chances to earn the spot due to his high draft status and vested interest to the Falcons.

That being said, it looks as if Davis has an amazing training camp, there’s a good possibility that #92 will finally earn the starting spot he’s been looking to achieve. The Atlanta Falcon’s new coaching staff really doesn’t give the impression of handing out starting spots simply based on draft status. That favors Davis chances.

Will Chauncey Davis Beat out Jamaal Anderson?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
 

Discussion Framework:
1) Will Abraham repeat an injury-free, stellar year?
2) Is there an issue with leadership surrounding #55?
3) Do you believe that Chauncey Davis will get a fair shot at RDE?
4) What’s your opinion of the Davis resigning: good move or too much money?

Next Post Preview: How much will Biermann play? What role can Sidbury Jr. find?

70 comments Add your comment

Randy Nichols

July 26th, 2009
11:29 pm

A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks

ATLJBO

July 27th, 2009
3:42 am

Did Jamaal Anderson really train with Chuck Smith this offseason ?

CBrass

July 27th, 2009
8:33 am

D3,

Once again great post. If we get some production from the right side there is no doubt that Abe can put of the same numbers(assuming he stays healthy). As for his leadership abilities it’s really hard to say. As you stated he may be the type of player that leads by example rather than that vocal leader that we’re so accustom to seeing. Either way he should have been at OTA’s. He’s one of my favorite but when I found out that he missed OTA’s that really didn’t sit to well with me.

CBrass

July 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

Sarah B,

I’m still not sure about the whole FF thing. FF takes a lot more dedication that I’m willing to give…LOL

John Waynesworld

July 27th, 2009
12:33 pm

D3, excellent as usual. I am sure you are stirring the soup as far as #55 is concerned. If my memory is correct, Stirg gets annoyed at this topic of conversation.

On the one side you have Abraham’s super stats from ‘08. You know, the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and definitely don’t over-practice it” catagory. Nobody want Abe hurt and a duplicate of last year would be fine thank you very much.

However, on the other side is the veteran angle, the master/grasshopper teaching theory. I believe Abe has already done ALOT of this with the younger players from his poise and demeanor. You may recall in #55’s younger days he was quite the selfish player. He admitted so much himself. Now, as he stated in his interviews, he is much more of a role model in how he carries himself. That is on and OFF the field. Nobody in this forum has a full grasp of what Abe REALLY does behind the scenes, and that is where I believe he does the yoeman’s work with the youngsters.

Bye the way, Chauncey will be a BEAST (and a starter).

Sarah B

July 27th, 2009
12:43 pm

CBrass you’d be suprised. Once your team is drafted there is not much to do until Friday when you decide who you are going to play that considering opponent, injury status, bye week. The only other time you have to spend a lot of time is surfing the waiver wire when need some one to fill in for a bye week or an injury or God forbid a bust on your team. You can also check the wire for someone who is hot this year and ditch someone who is not. Other than that the computer does all the work for you. Even on the waiver wire, you can sort by all sorts of things for info. The computer updates live scoring and all that. Then it’s all about smack talk. Preparing for the draft is what takes some time if you don’t know a lot about other teams. It’s also a good way to generate intrest across the whole league. On Sunday you find yourself suddenly caring if The Chargers do good or not etc.

Sarah B

July 27th, 2009
12:44 pm

Training camp should truely be an open competition this year. Davis could easily take his spot.

John Waynesworld

July 27th, 2009
1:52 pm

A little side note, I want to express my condolences to the Bryant family on the passing of former Falcon great Rick Bryant. Rick was a tough hombre and a fantastic football player. Bryan was picked ninth overall in the 1984 NFL Draft and played with the Falcons through 1993, finishing with 29 pro sacks. I had the pleasure of being invited to eat with him on two different Thanksgivings, where we had a lot of laughs with Rick and some of his other teammates Jeff Van Note and Jeff Yeates. Rick took the time to talk with me about my future and gave me encouragement, not just shooting the breeze. Van Note and Yeates were the same as Bryan, just good people. Rick left an impression on me and I am glad to have a forum to share it.

John Waynesworld

July 27th, 2009
2:33 pm

Excuse me…Bryan.

JackofHearts

July 27th, 2009
2:34 pm

Abe is the man, and i pray for another injury free season. His groin injury can come back at any time because those never fully heal. I really liked Chauncy Davis from his days back at Florida St and have been waiting for him to get the opportunity to start. With the ineffectivness of Anderson, it actually like Davis was the starter. Davis had better watch out for Sidbury! I know he is raw with talent, but he is very quick and explosive.

CBrass

July 27th, 2009
3:35 pm

Sarah B,

Still not really sure.

I think you guys will enjoy reading this. Our beloved Birds are ranked #8.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/powerranking?season=2009&week=0

Nookah

July 27th, 2009
4:54 pm

D3, another good blog my friend. You are lighting it up!!! Would you consider suiting up for the Braves? They could use your hot bat!!! That’s 3 for 3!!! Booyakah!!!

I am looking at your framework for this discussion and you are truly a teacher. I’m glad I’m a student of your class..lol!!!

I think Smitty and the coaching staff know the asset they have. They will therefore use him judiciously to ensure longevity and maximum productivity. They have already moved in that direction in the offseason by getting younger and faster. Of course none of us, not even Smitty knows exactly what we have in Sidbury, Jerry and the new guys. They cannot be absolutely they will pan out but I am sure they will be thrown into the fire very early and will have to mature pretty quickly to ensure less pressure is put on JA#55.

Will he repeat the feat this year? This will all depend on the production from the other guys on the line, JA#98, Chauncey, Babs, PJerry, Trey Lewis, LSidbury etc. If these guys produce as we all expect them to, it can drive the offense into the lap of #55. Now that’s a thought to salivate over. Can you imagine we have great production from one side (I won’t say left or right because Smitty loves to switch up his guys), in addition to the great push we anticipate from inside? Offenses will have to try to pick which side to run to. Falcon fans could be in for a treat.

However, the fact is JA55 will be a marked man and will attract double and triple teams sometimes and he may not have as many sacks as last year. However, he could actually have less sacks but we can have a better defense. What is interesting is that Keith Brooking had the highest number of tackles last year in the regular season (102) and the closest to him was Eric Coleman our safety with 95. That suggests that we were not having the kind of inside pressure we needed to have. If our safeties have less tackles this year then hopefully our guys upfront such as Babs, Trey, Peria, JA98 and Chauncey will be having fun. Where we need JA55 is in the postseason, so we need to have him fresh for that period. Hopefully we will be able to do that. I remember seeing him on the bench in the 4th qtr. of the playoff game vs. the Cardinals and he did not look like a happy camper. I know he was disappointed and wanted to win so bad. Hopefully we can go much further this year.

His leadership is another question. He appears to be more intraverted. However, it does not necessarily mean he is not a leader. He may be mentoring in a quiet way. We really have not heard of any negative incidents regarding JA55, so we have to assume he is contributing to the chemistry in the locker room. From the outside looking in I don’t think there is an issue with his leadership or lack thereof. As long as the coaching staff finds a way to motivate him from week to week I’m fine.

I honestly think Chauncy will get his fair shot. Smitty is running a tight ship and one common thread that I hear from most of the Birds that are asked about Smitty, is that he is a professional and it’s obvious he is trusted by his players. I don’t think Smitty has any preferences except for the player that is showing the most efficiency in practice. If Chauncy shows more aggression and less mistakes than everyone else, then he will start and that goes for all players. Smitty also knows he has to maintain the credibility with his players and therefore has to maintain his fairness to all players. His salary is enough proof to us fans and to Chauncey that management have appreciated his effort and ethic and have rewarded him handsomely. I know during training camp it will all work itself out.

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!!

BT

July 27th, 2009
6:51 pm

Wow, Nice new fire starter D3.
Your on a roll!

Nookah- That was a great post and I concur with you on many points.
*Abe will do very well again, the way Smitty and Sugar bear are handling him is brilliant.
Nobody but them would have thought less reps would equal more production.
*There is no issue with Abraham’s leadership IMO and I have no issue with him missing most of the OTA`s either.
It`s not like he needs extra reps or training, let him be healthy and fresh and he will do his specialty when it`s needed the most.
*Fair shot for Davis, indeed. For the exact reason Nookah explained.
*Re-signing Davis was a good move IMO.
I actually felt a bit of relief when his deal was done keeping him on the team.
Davis is at least a handy reliable DE to have in the rotation, at the most he is a very valuable insurance policy (to cash in) in the event a certain other DE fails to show the expected progress.

BT

July 27th, 2009
7:01 pm

Rick Bryant was one tough Falcon, may he RIP.

John Waynesworld- Thanks for sharing you thoughts on the man, even though the news was sad.

Dean 21

July 27th, 2009
7:16 pm

It seems that Davis will play a very important role this year. One, he could easily become the starter at the left DE and two, he could spell Abe in case of injury. I do like that we have a little depth at both positions right now. I am also waiting to see if Trey Lewis can get through training camp without being injured. Barring injury, I like our defense right now, we just have to place the right players in the places that are vacant and let the hitting begin!

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:05 pm

D3 – another great blog, too bad the fish wrapper isn’t backing us – again! I know its not you brother, maybee just the headlines of the day! Oh well, we’re all proud of you buddy, keep up the good work!

Dean 21

July 27th, 2009
9:07 pm

I agree JJ, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack for our blogs…

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:15 pm

Dean 21, It pisses me off! I mean 15 blogs for 20 hrs – come on, our fellow brothers/sisters can’t find it or dont know about it! What if Stirg is trying to find us? I think it may have more to do with the ajc “favorite sporting news story – mv” and want everyone to go to those blogs, I cant! It lowers my already low iq just to read that smut, not the subject but the bloggers – both sides, so over it! But the fish wrapper will carry that subject as long as they can I guess!

CBrass

July 27th, 2009
9:18 pm

I thought I was the only one having a difficult time finding it.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:25 pm

liberal fish wrapping cox enterprise !!!

Dean 21

July 27th, 2009
9:28 pm

It seems that the fight isn’t over for the cage to find it’s popular status with the fish wrap…lol

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:30 pm

sorry D21, CB; I’ll bite my lip!

Dean 21

July 27th, 2009
9:34 pm

Welcome CBrass,
I think I was on vacation when you found the cage. I have read your posts and found it to be very helpful especially with the questions you ask and it’s also exciting to have another female cager! I’m sure you found the cage to be full of football knowledge, fun, entertaining and some serious football talk. I think I also read that you breed the red n black! Now that’s real talk. I’m on board with Jason bout them dawgs…

Dean 21

July 27th, 2009
9:35 pm

I hear ya JJ, but you are on to something and hopefully it will change soon.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:36 pm

it really comes down to one thing: no respect for their viewers, we (falcon FANS) pay for their product in newspapers (which I buy daily) and advertisement; with our viewing their page. No respect for falcon fans who come together on this one blog that doesnt spew hatred, just our love for our home team…pathetic ajc… shame.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:38 pm

now i bit my tongue as well…sorry guys, no more venting!

D3

July 27th, 2009
9:44 pm

Hey fellow ‘Cagers! Great to see you found it. Best thing to do is just go subscribe to the RSS Feed at the top right and it will bring you to The Bird Cage automatically. Hit refresh each day to see if a new posting comes up. Probably taking a little time to get all the kinks worked out.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:45 pm

D3, not your fault bro. This is how I find it…put cursor over sports(dont click) and then the blue box pulls down and click on “…more blogs…” their you’ll find the bird cage, pain in the butt!

Sarah B

July 27th, 2009
9:51 pm

D3 tried the RSS feed – hated it! Tiny font for those of us with glasses etc. Just don’t like it. I found today’s new blog on the right hand side of the last blog, no prob.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
10:14 pm

D3 – You posted, came back and rewrote it, and put it back in the same time slot…9:44, wow…beware of the dark side luke…lol!

D3

July 27th, 2009
10:19 pm

Randy – Thanks for the props. Just a fun hobby that started a long while ago with many friends here in our Falcons football forum.

ATLJBO – Yeah, he did train with Chuck Smith from what I heard. Meant to put that in the post, but forgot. That’s another reason a lot of people feel JA#98’s ready for a big breakout year.

CBrass – Appreciate it. Coach Smith and Co. went out of their way many times to state that OTA’s were voluntary, and they had no problem with it. As mentioned by many fans, those voluntary sessions are a great arena for team-building and team chemistry bonding. Quite a few fans weren’t too happy with the absence.

CBrass(2) – Fantasy football really is very easy, and we have tons of members who will be playing for their very first time. Ton of fun that can be quite addicting.

JohnWaynesWorld – Thanks, glad some of you all found the post. Haven’t heard from Stirg in quite some time. I figured if there was any post that could bring him back, this would be it. I think Abraham is known as a leader, and maybe he’s unfairly judged compared to Milloy and Brooking’s leadership style. Production is the name of the game, and Abe got one of the biggest Pro-Bowl snubs in recent memory. Chauncey is getting paid starters salary, and we all know to follow the money.

Sarah B. – How much productivity is lost because of fantasy football at work? Bet its a lot. I won’t be shocked, but I’ll be surprised if #92 is lining up against the ‘Fins in September 12th.

Jackofhearts – Can’t wait to see Sidbury get some looks in the games this year. Word was that his progression was a little slow in mini-camp and OTA’s. After watching him in that championship game, they guy is unbelievable and was one of THE best steals of the draft.

Nookah – Thank my brother. Like you said and was evidenced by Coach Smith and Co. last year, they aren’t afraid to throw rookies in the fire quickly. Matty Ice, Sam Baker, & Curtis Lofton all started; and Chevis Jackson, Harry Douglas, and Kroy Biermann all played huge roles last year. I would be shocked if Jerry, Moore, Owens, Sidbury, and maybe Middleton don’t see significant time this year. Maybe even Walker. We all hope that Chauncey gets a fair shot, and the money doesn’t lie.

BT – In total agreeance on resigning Davis. Big insurance for Abe, but also for JA#98’s future. I think that Davis might be being groomed to be Abe’s potential replacement, if not earlier for Anderson.

Dean21 – Assuming no injuries, we have one of the deepest defensive line rotations in recent memory. As you mentioned though, that’s a fairly big risk with Abe, Jerry, and especially Trey Lewis’ injury history. Huge insurance with Davis. The guy has played in every single game since being in the ATL.

JJ – Thanks my man. Maybe its just taking some time to get started and all the kinks worked out. I certainly would think that with the first blog getting over 150 posts, and the second one getting over 100 that the potential is there. I sent you an email on something that might help.

Sarah B

July 27th, 2009
10:35 pm

D3 there are days when I run out and grab lunch the put a note on my door Do Not Disturb… eat at my desk due to guilt!

Sarah B

July 27th, 2009
10:40 pm

ESPN Power Rankings has us ranked 8th! The only teams we play ranked ahead of up are Pats, Eagles & Giants, so much for that tough schedule! Looks like everyone else hase a tough schedule.

Unca' Bob

July 28th, 2009
6:23 am

D3,

There is no link to The Bird Cage. I had to jump through so many hoops just to get here. Were it not for the fact I knew what I was looking for, it would be impossible to find this site. Someone needs to be made aware of this in order for this blog to continue to thrive.

seven-eleven

July 28th, 2009
7:07 am

nice blog D3-Abraham is money and is about to have his best year yet.

CBrass

July 28th, 2009
8:17 am

D3,

I see you think that Davis is being groomed to take over for Abe what about Biermann? Where do you see him? Do you see him as just a back up player? I may not know much about football but I see something special in this guy.

CBrass

July 28th, 2009
8:23 am

Unca’ Bob,

I agree if I didn’t know where to look I would never find this blog. It’s weird how it was listed on the Falcons page the first day then all but disappeared!

Still reading that link you sent me. Alot of info there.

Sarah B/D3,

I’ve seen what FF does to my coworkers.LOL Some of them go as far as making spreadsheets!!! It’s all they talk about during football season which drives me up a wall.

I just feel that I have more to learn before I even think about joining a league.

Unca' Bob

July 28th, 2009
9:16 am

ATLJBO,

After reading your April 12 ‘09 posts at atlantafalcons.com, I think you know the answer to your own question.

CBrass,

It is pretty dry reading, but should allow you be informed. Rather than give you a fish, I feel it is better for you to learn to fish…Just a thought.

John Waynesworld

July 28th, 2009
9:39 am

CBrass, I agree and I hope we see more of Kroy this year. I like those “high motor” guys who never stop pushing and battling until the whistle. I think as soon as we get someone on the other side of the D Line who can bring it like Abe (and the opposing O Line can’t key on just one guy), that is when Kroy will start getting his licks.

Big Sky Baby!

CBrass

July 28th, 2009
9:52 am

JJ,

You (along with the rest of us) has the right to be upset but it is what it is. There is nothing that we can really do about it.

Dean21,

Thanks for the warm welcome. As you can see I’m learning and learning alot from the guys and gals here.

Nookah

July 28th, 2009
11:11 am

I have a suggestion for those having a hard time to find this blog. What I did was save it to my “favourites”, so when I want it it’s there. If there is a new blog, check the top right hand side of the existing blog and you’ll see the new topic if one exists and select it and that will take you to the new blog.

I’m enjoying the posts and the comraderie. It’s great when we share a common cause.

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!!

Unca' Bob

July 28th, 2009
11:49 am

Nookah,

I’ve done the same thing. My concern is with those that can not navigate to the site to begin with.

Unca' Bob

July 28th, 2009
12:19 pm

D3,

I don’t see J Abraham getting the same numbers as last year. I do see The Falcon Defense getting more than 34 sacks this year. J Babineaux started his breakout last year, and if continued, he will put up some very good stats. With T Lewis healthy, and the drafting of P Jerry, the LDT spot will have a lot of speed as well as pop. The disruption will carry over to aid all positions, including J Anderson. Coach Van Gorder now has speed to burn and will utilize it in blitz packages not seen before. He will bring it from everywhere. I’M ready! Let’s tee it up!!

John Waynesworld

July 28th, 2009
12:22 pm

Maybe it will keep some of the end of the worlders away.

What’s the topic d’jour, D3?

John Waynesworld

July 28th, 2009
12:33 pm

If we are still on the D Line, I would like for Abe to rush the passer without the double team every time. if we had someone even 1/2 as good as #55 on the other side, Abraham would be able to stay healthy, be as productive as last year AND we would have even MORE sacks as a team. The defensive tackles should have more sacks as well and that would make us totally dangerous!

A multiple sack threat? Imagine what that world would be like! We are going to need a name for our new quarterback sacking D Line!!

Any nick names out there?

JJ

July 28th, 2009
12:45 pm

DOL has a new blog up, why not let the ajc know we want the link back up? I don’t blame DOL, he may be able to help.

JJ

July 28th, 2009
12:47 pm

JW, Stirg brought up the phrase: ” Thou shalt not run”, but that not a nickname, but a hopefull slogan.

JJ

July 28th, 2009
1:17 pm

never mid, the link is back!

CBrass

July 28th, 2009
1:22 pm

I found this on nfl.com and thought I would pass it along. Loved that they are working so hard before camp even begins!!!

http://www.nfl.com/trainingcamp/story?id=09000d5d8117ea20&template=without-video-with-comments&confirm=true

John Waynesworld

July 28th, 2009
1:43 pm

“The Penetrators”
“The Red Wave”
“The Unstoppables”
“The Ars Kickers”
“Outamtway!”