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What I Learned About Football This Week That I Didn't Know Last Week


nativefalcon
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What I Learned About Football This Week That I Didn't Know Last Week

Rookie Falcons coach Mike Smith is a smart guy -- and that's a partly why Atlanta has overachieved this season. It's not just because of the way he trusted Matt Ryan to run the offense four months after he stepped off the Boston College campus. It's also because of the way he has used John Abraham.

Through five weeks of the season, there was Abraham atop the sack leaderboard, with seven. No defensive player in football had as many disruptive defensive plays -- sacks, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles, interceptions -- as Abraham. "I want to be known as a complete player, not just a pass-rusher,'' he said last week. "My first five, six years in the league, all I heard was, 'You've got to play the run better.' Here, I feel like I play the run and pass well, and they're keeping me fresh enough to be able to do both.''

What would you say if I told you Abraham had been on the sidelines, through five games, for 138 of the Falcons' 320 defensive snaps, and it had been done that way by design? Abraham, through five games, was playing 57 percent of the snaps.

"It hasn't been just for preservation,'' said Smith. "It's been for effectiveness. Different players have different muscular efficiency, and what we're doing here is trying to maximize that in our guys.''

Different muscular efficiency. I can't say that I've ever heard that one before. But it seems to make sense with a guy like Abraham, who has missed 31 games due to injury in his previous eight NFL seasons. And he likes the way he's being handled, both during the week and on game days, when he's being used less than he ever has been when healthy. "I'm getting more rest during the week, and I'm rotating in and out on Sundays more than I have been,'' Abraham said. "I like it. I feel fresher, I feel I can use my athleticism for the full game now.''

Abraham has played a 16-game season four times in his career, and he has shown flashes of being an all-pro pass-rusher at various times since the Jets drafted him in the first round in 2000 out of South Carolina. But often he's faded late in seasons. Judging by the numbers, he might be on his way to playing his fewest snaps per game, while making the biggest impact of his career. The year-by-year playing time for Abraham, first with the Jets and then, since 2006, with Atlanta:

Smith has also moved Abraham almost equally between left end and right end, and dropped him into coverage. "We just want to make sure we use him in a smart way, and in a way he'll be able to help us for the full season,'' Smith said.

It sounds surprising that one of the best defensive players in football in the first half of this season is playing 36 snaps a game and sitting 28. But think about it: That's 36 times Abraham is playing like a sprinter coming out of the blocks, and getting beaten up in traffic. Rather than have him play 60 plays and be physically spent -- leading, perhaps, to an injury of fatigue -- it just seems smart to make sure he still has gas left in the tank in the fourth quarter and in Week 17.

Had the graph for John Abrahams sacks to plays ratio on link. Good Article even for Peter king. :P

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writ...12/week6/3.html

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That Mike Smith is beginning to turn head in the NFL. All those years of experience are paying off now for us, and he surrounded himself with very good coaches. When we hired him, the rest of the league said, "Mike who?"

LOL now they know who he is alright. I just hope we keep winning because I would LOVE to see this very good football coach rewarded with Coach of the Year honors. I know he already is in our minds, but I want him to receive that award for the tremendous job he has done here.

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That Mike Smith is beginning to turn head in the NFL. All those years of experience are paying off now for us, and he surrounded himself with very good coaches. When we hired him, the rest of the league said, "Mike who?"

LOL now they know who he is alright. I just hope we keep winning because I would LOVE to see this very good football coach rewarded with Coach of the Year honors. I know he already is in our minds, but I want him to receive that award for the tremendous job he has done here.

That's just what i was thinking reading this post.

Mike Smith and those 180 some years of coaching experience. Genius

I was pushing so hard for Mike Singletary cause I wanted a real football guy not a lovie-dovie you can ride in my car guy or a man wanna be

But I will eat crow now

Thanks for the post nativefalcon

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Very interesting strategy.

After seeing Abraham blow up Carolina in the first game last year, and then get injured with just a few minutes left, this seems like a perfect solution.

Abraham appears to have only two speeds - on and off. All I can say to the Jets fans that warned us he was injury prone is, 'well, you should have learned how to use him right'.

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"Different muscular efficiency"- that's a first for sure... :lol: I like it though. This type thinking is what makes Coach Smith a "real' football head in my opinion. Only a football head comes up with stuff like that. I always was under the thinking that Abe's gift was his curse. He's so incredibly atheletic he makes his body do things it, and probably no one else's either, isn't suppose to do and that's why he gets injured. It's like having a Hemi in a Hyundai, it might make it go really fast but sooner or later that cheap azz rack and pinion is going to pop.

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Very interesting read. I didn't realize the percentage of plays that 55 was in on at all. Kinda makes you understand a little better why JA98 was being rotated out as often as he was as well. We knew that the coaching staff was still high on 98, but the MBers who were already down on him said it was because of his inefficiency. Looks like that's not the case at all (which was to be expected anyway).

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I will say this about the Abraham situation. Even before reading this article I knew that Abraham was consistently showing up in far more ways than he has in the past. Yesterday I watched him use an amazing speed rush around the offensive LT only to have the qb throw a dump off to the rb, and then to my suprise I noticed that Abraham was the guy who ran down the rb and tackled him several yards down field. Gotta try to keep those DL players very fresh throughout the game and the season.

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