MWalex and I were having a spirited discussion, and I thought I would bring it to everyone's attention and allow you to weigh in on your opinions. The basic concept is Abe's role in the defense, assuming we bring in a defender in free agency. There are several components to the argument so I will try and state each of our current arguments.
I argue that we need to bring in a guy who can be the #1 guy as a three down defensive end. This is one of my complaints about Ray Edwards as I'm not sure he can be the #1 guy on a line, considering the talent around him and his current production. I think Abe is definitely on the downside of his career and the best way to utilize him would be in obvious passing situations, as well as other situations at the discretion of the coaches. Abe would not see the field on third and short. I think by using him sparingly, we would allow him to be fresh throughout the season and utilize his ability to the fullest. I think if we use him too much, he will burnout and be unproductive in the most important part of the season, the playoffs. That is one of the reasons why I think it is key that we bring in a guy who can be the unquestionable dominant force that the opposing quarterback will fear. Every time the quarterback drops back, he should be thinking about our DE coming from his blindside. When Abe and our top DE are both on the field, I hope the quarterback is constantly thinking about the quickest way to get the ball out of his hands. I believe this will allow us to put our best options on the field at all times and in the situations where they will be the most productive.
As has happened many times before, mwalex disagrees with me. I will do my best to state his argument as unbiased as possible. I'm sure he will hop in the comments section and elaborate more on his thoughts, so consider this more of the general guidelines. He believes that whoever we bring in should play alongside Abe at all times, and push Biermann to the bench. He would consider Abe the clear #1 guy and the FA the clear #2. He argues that if you don't play both at the same time, you are not getting the true value out of them and it won't be worth it. Note the following quote:
If a FA DE is brought in it will be to sit Bierman. Why would you sit your best rushing DE? If you’r going to do that then forget signing a big name DE. The objective is to have them boht rushing the QB at the same time. Also, with this being Abe’s last contract year you can bet ATL will get everything out of him they can.
As you can see, he believes that with this being a contract year for Abe, we use him at every possible opportunity. There is no doubt he has great talent. How can we keep talent like that on the bench?
There you have our two arguments. Basically, I think whoever we bring in as a free agent DE needs to be able to assume the #1 role. Abe is getting older and the best way to utilize his abilities would be to use him less often than we have in the past. Similar to Turner, we need to limit his snaps to help keep him fresh for the postseason. MWalex argues that to maximize the value, we need to have both players on the field. If we rotate Abe, we are stuck in the same situation we are currently in and nothing will be improved, it will be a waste of money. Now, I ask my fellow Falcoholics to help with our debate. What do you think? Is Abe past his prime and needs to be used in situations with our FA to optimize his production, or do we keep him on the field with the FA as much as possible and get everything out of our money that we can? Vote, comment, and give us your input. Enjoy!