John Abraham ranks according to ProFootballFocus.com, out of 73 defensive ends that play in the 4-3 defense
Comprehensive Ranking (Sacks x Hits x Pressures x Run Stop) – 4th (22.5 Rating)
Rushing the Passer – 7th (15.9 rating)
Stopping the Run – 8th (8.6 rating)
Sacks – Tied for 21st (5.5 sacks)
QB Hits – Tied for 14th (12 Hits)
QB Pressures – 2nd (39 Pressures)
Tackles – Tied for 20th (26 Tackles)
Even though Abraham didn’t have a ton of sacks, he ranked as one of the top 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL in terms of overall production, rushing the passer, stopping the run, and QB pressures.
Abraham had a record year only two years ago when he collared 16.5 sacks en route to the Falcons making the playoffs and finishing with an 11-5 record in 2008. The sacks didn’t come as much as he or fans would’ve liked, but he was right there many times and put pressure on opposing QB’s. The injury problems and inexperience from the defensive tackle position (Peria Jerry, Thomas Johnson, Vance Walker) led to Abraham not getting much help from the inside. Once again, the other defensive end position also saw very little production as well. Kroy Biermann showed progress, but didn’t take complete hold of the position and Jamaal Anderson gave very little help from the DE spot again. Coach Smith and the rest of the staff seem to be fine with Abraham doing his own personal workout regimen and missing OTA’s. They are, after all, voluntary workouts that are not required by the NFL. If the coaches don’t have a problem with it, why should we? Another good point is that Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury Jr. will get all the much needed extra snaps to see who will take over the other DE spot. Concerning leadership, Abraham has established himself as one of the core defensive leaders of this team and has been around longer than most anyone on that side of the ball.
Yes it is true that OTA’s are voluntary, but that misses the point. Abraham should want to be there. Tony Gonzalez is the best tight end to ever play the game and has a Hall of Fame bust waiting for him in Canton, Ohio and he’s there working on helping Matt Ryan, the younger players, and the team as a whole. Doesn’t it bother him when all of his other teammates and leaders of the team are there working together on priming for a deep playoff run? Abraham has always been a little suspect when it comes to locker room issues. This makes two years in a row that he has failed to show for OTA’s (at least so far this summer) and some fans have questioned his leadership in matters such as this.
In a recent interview with AJC Falcons Staff Writer D. Orlando Ledbetter, Abraham came off as somewhat flippant and didn’t necessarily answer questions as a true leader might. He mentioned several times about what other teammates were not doing and brought up the issue of inexperience often. It may be overly critical and hypersensitive, but most fans want to hear more of what “I am going to do” as opposed to possibly blaming your teammates. The point is not necessarily that he is missing these voluntary activities, but why he’s missing them. A great leader should always want to be around to help their team get better, particularly the younger players. The Falcons defense is filled with a ton of young players (Lofton, DeCoud, Owens, Weatherspoon, Biermann, Sidbury Jr., etc.) that could use a team leader guiding them and helping them.
Special thanks to ProFootballFocus.com for comprehensive statistics
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