Let John Abraham do what he does best

I just got my copy of Football Outsiders Almanac 2012, which is always one of the highlights of my summer. I’ll be sharing nuggets from it with you for the next few weeks.

I just got started skimming Atlanta’s overview and one line really jumped out at me.

“By the count of our game charters, John Abraham dropped into coverage on a zone blitz more often than any defensive lineman in the league (last season).’’

Really? I mean, I get and respect the fact that Abraham is athletic enough to drop into coverage. But, seriously, what was former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder thinking?

Abraham is 34 now and doesn’t need to be running around like a kid. Besides, he was the only consistent threat Atlanta had as a pass rusher last season and the circumstances could be the same this year. Let’s hope new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan noticed that stat and doesn’t even think about Abraham trying to run with running backs or tight ends.

Part of me was thinking Abraham is getting near the end and may be slowing down. But he’s a guy that always has worked hard on his physical conditioning. After I saw that stat, I changed my mind on my outlook for Abraham for this year.

If the Falcons simply line him up at defensive end and let him exclusively go after quarterbacks, I see no reason why he can’t get back into double-digit sacks.