Atlanta Falcons: 5 Talking Points with Pro Bowl Defensive End John Abraham
But, Abraham also talked about how the first quarter of the season has gone so far, and elaborated on some key points.
Here's some of the things he had to say.
On the First Quarter of the Season
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"The first quarter of the season has not been as good as we wanted it to be," said Abraham. "I think the lack of offseason might have hurt us a little bit."
Atlanta, which won 13 games and the NFC South title this year, has started a tad slow out of the starting gates. They nearly lost a 20-point lead against Seattle this past Sunday, laid in egg in the season opener in Chicago, failed to complete a comeback against a sloppy Tampa Bay squad, and needed an injury to Michael Vick to steal a win from the Eagles.
It hasn't been the solid start the Falcons were expecting.
But, Abraham knows that, even though this team was so good last season, there's always room for improvement.
"The nucleus of our team is younger guys," said Abraham. "I think we're definitely getting better and learning every game."
On the Lack of Pass Rush
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The Falcons have struggled mightily when it comes to getting sacks on the quarterback. However, Abraham doesn't seem to think that's a major issue.
"Personally, I think it's because of the quarterbacks we are playing against," said Abraham. "We had Mike Vick, Josh Freeman, and last week we had Jackson. We've faced very mobile quarterbacks, so we've done some different things to try and contain them."
Atlanta added Ray Edwards to the defense to sure up the pass rush, but also lost one of their most important interior players in Jonathan Babineaux.
On the Absence of Babineaux
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Abraham made it pretty apparent that Babineaux is a key part of this defensive line.
"He draws a lot of double-teams off me," said Abraham. "Babineaux penetrates very well, so it's harder for opponents to double-team me."
The Falcons have filled the void with former first round selection, Peria Jerry, and last year's biggest surprise on defense, Corey Peters.
"The young guys are coming a long," said Abraham. "Jerry and Peters are playing well, but they need to play consistently well."
Abraham also was honest enough to bring himself up.
"I've got to do a better job of getting to the quarterback, also"
On the Young, Talented Defense
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Instead of making constant trades and blockbuster moves, the Falcons defense has developed, together, with a nucleus of young players. Those young players are slowly becoming veterans while also playing with the same cast and crew week in, week out, and year in and year out.
That's a testament to Thomas Dimitroff's style.
"A lot of these guys have been together for a while," said Abraham. "I think that's how you build a great team. Communication is a lot better with someone you know."
Abraham did admit the defense is always a work in progress, which has been evident in some struggles and growing pains over the last four weeks.
"We're still trying to get everybody together and getting communication down," said Abraham.
On Sunday's Matchup with the Green Bay Packers
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I asked Abraham what it would take to not let Green Bay do what they did the last time they laced up in the Georgia Dome.
"No mistakes," Abraham promptly said. "I'm not saying we have to play a perfect game, but we have to play as close to a perfect game as possible."
Last year, Atlanta was trounced by the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs, despite having home field advantage.
Aaron Rodgers' calm and collected style of play was a major part of their dominating performance.
"We can't shoot ourselves in the foot," said Abraham. "Whenever you make mistakes, especially with Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers will make you pay."
The Falcons host the Packers on Sunday night in the Georgia Dome. Kickoff is slated for 8:20 p.m. ET.