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The Future Of the Atlanta Falcons Pass Rush

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Hitting you with two discussion posts today, since I expect most of you have the day off and don't want to digest a lot of analysis today. Also, the NFL is dead right now. Unless Kerry Meier or Sean Weatherspoon ink contracts, you're not likely to see anything big hit.

So let's move right into that discussion.

We've hit the pass rush issue from a number of different angles, I know. But it's such a critically important issue for this team that I thought it wouldn't hurt to have you step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Stats are, arguably, the single most important consideration here. We all know by now that John Abraham didn't post many sacks in 2009, which might convince you that he's over the hill and trending downward. Using more advanced metrics, though, we find that Abraham was still a pretty studly pass rusher.

But let's go beyond that for a minute. We'd all like the Falcons to know the sweet sustained success that we've so rarely seen for this franchise, so the question becomes something other than whether John Abraham was effective last year. Will he be effective in 2010? 2011? 2012 and beyond? Will he even be on the team? What about Kroy Biermann and promising project Lawrence Sidbury? What will they offer?

It's an important question because the Falcons are counting on an improved pass rush to complement their mercifully upgraded secondary. Abraham could have another great season left in him, but this team isn't building toward a deep playoff run this year and then an immediate implosion. It's entirely possible that at at age 33 and having suffered numerous injuries over the course of his career, Abe just won't be able to hold up as a full-time defensive end any longer beyond 2010. It's crucial that the Falcons don't spend a young, talented team's prime trying to install stopgaps at a critical defensive position.

So talk Biermann. Talk Sidbury. Hell, talk Chauncey Davis. Tell me if Abraham will find a fountain of youth and wreck opposing quarterbacks until the world ends (in 2012, of course). Tell me who this year's and future starters are at defensive end, and whether they're already on the roster.

Because I'm willing to bet that if the team can't put together a competent pass rush (and to be fair, we did last year), then the odds of the Falcons heading to the Super Bowl are pretty damn slim.