When it became clear the Atlanta Falcons were moving from their previous 4-3 defensive scheme to more 3-4 formations, many wondered how Osi Umenyiora would fit. Actually, I assumed he would be cut just because he is a pretty poor fit in a 3-4
and Atlanta was drafting Clowney. In fact, Osi was potentially asked to take a pay cut in the second year of his contract but in the end nothing happened.
Only a year after setting his sights on the NFL sack record, Osi's tune has changed quite a bit. Here we are at OTAs and Osi's role isn't very clear. John Manasso of Fox Sports interviewed the
defensive end l inebacker football player about where he fits in a 3-4.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know what exactly what my role is going to be. I think it will be determined as the weeks go on."
Manasso refers to Osi as a "designated pass rusher" which seems to mean he will be a part time player. In fact, Osi doesn't seem to be running with the starters.
So far it seems that Umenyiora could be the odd man out in terms of a starting role -- that trend that began last season when he started the first 13 games but not the last three. In the Falcons' 3-4 sets, Jonathan Babineaux is taking the most reps with the first team at the right end, with Jonathan Massaquoi at right outside linebacker, Umenyiora's old spot. In other fronts, whether it's the 3-3 or 4-3, the 300-pound Babineaux appears to be holding down that right end spot as the Falcons are determined to do a better job defending the run.
Osi is taking up around $4.5 million in cap space, which is a whole lot for a specialist-type of player. If Atlanta didn't already pay Osi a $500,000 roster bonus back in March, I would probably think he would likely be cut. The Falcons found out that Osi isn't a top player, but more than likely just a rotational guy.
After putting together a forgettable 2013, Osi seems destined for an even more forgettable 2014.