As the Falcons attempt to assemble a defense that can both build a lead and hold it, they’ve swapped out John Abraham for Osi Umenyiora.
So far, so good.
“Osi fit in right away,” defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux said recently, via the Albany Herald. “He has an outgoing personality. You can talk to him about just about anything. As each day goes by, I think he’s getting more and more comfortable.”
Umenyiora has been lining up on both sides of the line for the Falcons.
“It’s been awesome,” Umenyiora said. “The whole team has welcomed me with open arms. It’s just been a wonderful feeling coming out there with these guys. It’s a great football team.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan hints that Umenyiora gives them something from an intangible standpoint that Abraham didn’t.
“John Abraham was a hell of a player, and Osi has kind of come in to fill that role,” Nolan said. “But every player is different and to say who’s better or not, some of it has to do with how that person fits in with the guys around him. Sometimes it’s a little better chemistry-wise.”
Umenyiora’s formula for now includes humility.
“For me, I have to start all over again and show them exactly what I’m capable of,” Umenyiora said. “Nobody cares what I did for the New York Giants. It’s what can I do for the Atlanta Falcons, and they expect big things from me. I expect even bigger things from myself.”
Falcons fans expect even bigger things from the team this year. After five straight winning seasons, they think the time has come for the Falcons to finally win a Super Bowl.