The NFL’s active sack leader was signed to be a pass-rusher, leaving the every-down duties up to someone else. It was a role change for Abraham, one that he wasn’t happy with, but one that he accepted.
That role changed two weekends ago, when a slew of injuries to the Cardinals’ outside linebackers left Abraham as one of the team’s only healthy options to fill in. Even though he's established a well-respected reputation as a sack master, it was as if Abraham didn’t miss a beat against Tampa Bay’s run-oriented offense on Sunday.
“I feel good,” Abraham said. “It’s what I wanted. I didn’t want it to happen this way with my teammates getting hurt, but it’s what I’ve been doing my whole career so it felt good playing. Hopefully I can do a little more to contribute to our wins.”
Abraham had just one tackle and one quarterback hit in a season-high 47 plays. But Arizona coach Bruce Arians didn’t care about the stats.
He was more concerned with Abraham’s overall play, as was defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who was also pleased with the pass-rusher’s play against the run.
“John played his best game, and probably played the run better than he has in a long time, and stepped up to the challenge of having to do that,” Arians said. “He played his best game for us.”
Run or pass, Abraham doesn’t care what kind of play he’s facing. He just wants to be on the field.
“I’ve been doing it my whole career,” he said. “It’s what I’m used to. It feels good to be back in the role.”