Falcons experimenting with Umenyiora as stand-up linebacker


Over the course of Osi Umenyiora’s nine years with the Giants, we grew accustomed to seeing him with his hand in the dirt before taking off after an opposing quarterback.

He’ll be wearing a different uniform after signing with the Falcons and that might not wind up being the only new look that Umenyiora sports this season. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has been using Umenyiora as a stand-up linebacker in practice, a role that involves playing in space more often than Umenyiora has ever done in the past.

“Never really done that before, but in a situation like this where it’s something that I might have to do, I just have to work,” Umenyiora said, via the team’s website. “I don’t know if I’m going to do it during an actual game or not, but it’s cool to come out here, get a feel for it and see if I can do it.”

Signing a player who has made his name as a straight-ahead pass rusher and then asking him to do different things can be a risky maneuver, but Nolan shouldn’t be faulted for experimenting during practice. Using multiple fronts and having players coming from various places on the field are two things that can potentially boost the pass rush, so there’s no reason for the Falcons to pass up a chance to check out every possible approach that might work for their defense over the course of the season.

16 responses to “Falcons experimenting with Umenyiora as stand-up linebacker

  1. As a lifelong Giants fan, I’d welcome this move, since the comedic value would be through the roof.

    This guy, in open space, has been juked and burned so many times that its almost criminal. Hes been good at one thing, rushing the passer, and even that has been open to debate, since his other big issue has always been consistency.

  2. Osi was a complete DE before he got hurt, now all he can do is slap at the ball coming around the corner.

    He couldn’t play against the run which made him a detriment for the Giant D the last couple of years because he was afraid of getting hurt again.

    Atlanta was stupid giving up Abraham coming off a 10 sack season!

  3. “Nolan shouldn’t be faulted for experimenting during practice”

    Absolutely correct. But if a professional NFL coach chooses to completely ignore almost a decade of game tapes that shows Osi can’t stop the run, bites on every fake, and couldn’t cover my 81 year old mother on a pass play, then, yeah, Nolan SHOULD faulted. This move makes about as much sense as Tom Coughlin lining up Eli Manning as a WR.

  4. Why sign a free agent DE pass rusher … and then try him at linebacker ? How does this make any sense ?

  5. How could my Giants not resign the most consistent and best player on their defense over the past 10 years? The guy led the team in sacks almost every year and is far ahead of any other Giant during that time. He carried the team so many times and the Giants let him go for nothing. Osi’s a leader, a team first player above all else but the team wasn’t there for him.

    We are in trouble this season but there is the weird hope that we go 2 – 14 and clean house. Plus we get the first pick in next year’s draft.

  6. As a giants fan, I watched this guy get burned repeatedly around the edge. He is terrible at containing the outside. Pass rush DE at best, but he is aging and hasn’t had the speed he had before his knee injury. He is absolutely terrible in space. In fact, twice last year RGIII ran his read option right at Osi almost every play. The second game was much worse than the first cause the skins realized how effective it was against him. I wish he were still in the division and played against RGIII twice again. That’s prob why he ran from the NFC east

  7. It’s not as though Nolan is trying to make a every down OLB out of him, just trying to see how/if he can use him in different sets…..

    The more interesting question is, will Nolan & the Falcons defense be able to lock down games once teams have figured out their trick defenses ? They confused many QBs early in games last year, most notably Peyton Manning; but as games went on teams begin to figure it out and Atlanta had to hang on for dear life late in games, which finally caught up to them in the NFC title game….the team needs to show more killer instinct on both offense and defense; Stephen Jackson will help on offense, but not sure if the defense has improved enough to step forward in this regard.

  8. if anythign he needs to work on his run game..i cant tell you how many times teams targeted every run against the giants on his side– and everytime he still ran wide looking to gain an edge to sack the qb..even if its first down

  9. That’ criminal! But hey what would you expect from a team with no pass rush and waives it’s best pass rusher Abraham. Let’s be honest. The Fraudcons have needed another pro-bowl pass rusher to help Abraham the last five seasons but failed to acquire one. When they acquire one they waive the other. He’s going to need help just like Abraham and be over used like Abraham which will result in him getting hurt like Abraham. The Falcons are cheap on defense. It’s like they buy an exotic car but have it insured by General. On the exotic car they put one performance tire on backward and buy retreads for the other three tires expecting to win the Daytona 500. It ain’t going to happen. Thers’s a reason the Falcons have never in their existence won a Superbowl.lol.

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