Abraham has Cards living on the edge

Posted by Darren Urban on July 29, 2013 – 10:02 am

Steve Keim, speaking for the first time since the Cards’ flurry of roster activity at the outset of camp, mentioned the obvious when talking about newly-acquired John Abraham.

“John obviously brings an element that we don’t and have not had,” the general manager said.

The Cardinals haven’t had a double-digit sack guy since Bertrand Berry had 14.5 in 2004. In the eight seasons since, nine is the top individual number. Safety Adrian Wilson had eight one year to lead the team. Chike Okeafor had 8.5 in 2006 and he was an edge defensive end, but no one was adjusting their protection schemes for Chike. Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell have taken their turns too, but even when Campbell was operating as a 4-3 DE he wasn’t the guy who was going to turn the corner and constantly wreak havoc.

Often the Cards have made it work through blitzes and schemes. But to add a guy like Abraham potentially changes that for the better.

The Cards have tried this recently, as I’ve mentioned before. Joey Porter was coming off a nine-sack season with the Dolphins when the Cards signed him in 2010; Porter had 17.5 sacks the year before that. (By contrast, Abraham has 19.5 sacks the past two seasons). At 33, Porter clearly was out of gas, which is why Miami let him go in favor of the up-and-coming Cameron Wake and why Porter never made an impact in Arizona.

The way the Cards scout and break down players now, though, they are certain Abraham — at 35 — is in a much better place to produce. The previous staff tried to play Porter every down (and Porter made that a problem, fighting tooth and nail never to come out) and that wasn’t going to work. Abraham made it clear he wanted to be every down but also said he understood he might be used more in pass-rushing situations.

Clarity with Abraham is easy to see for Keim, too.

“Sometimes when you study a 35-year-old on tape, he looks like a 35-year-old,” Keim said. “I don’t know if they put this guy in wax, I don’t know what it was, but this guy can still get off the rock. He had had 10 sacks last year, seven forced fumbles. His ‘get-off’ to this day is still what I remember when I scouted him at South Carolina. There are some areas of his game where he would probably admit his skills have declined, but to pick a player up of this caliber at this time excites us all.”


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Posted in Blog | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Abraham has Cards living on the edge”

  1. By Mike G on Jul 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! I hope the Cards use Abraham as a pass rush specialist only— playing him only on passing downs. At 35 I don’t think he is an every down player but if he is used correctly could help this team in the pressure and sack department similar to the way the Card’s used Berry in 2008 and 2009. Abraham has not performed well against the run the last couple years and has not performed well in the playoffs for the Falcons. Hopefully a change of scenery will help him. Very interested to see what Todd Bowles defense looks like. Darren–Do you think Bowles will play Abraham more in the earlier part of their schedule given his age and knowing Washington is lost for the first four games or do you think the Cards believe he can be productive throughout the entire course of the whole season?????

  2. By Darren Urban on Jul 29, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Abraham

    I’m sure they think he’ll be productive all season.

  3. By Eazy E on Jul 30, 2013 | Reply

    Joey the first year, was ok. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t horrible either but to John; John Abraham IS NOT and I repeat IS NOT a situational player. The guy dominated at times with 10 sacks and 7FFs not 6 as I said earlier. He will once he has the OLB position/stand-up thing down, will start at probably the weak-side and will be very productive. I despise when people think your over the hill or not what you use to be just because of age but they ain’t looking at numbers. Also, he was on a great team in Atlanta, so they aren’t numbers on a bad team which is a bigger plus.

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