Osi Umenyiora should theoretically provide an invaluable element to any team’s pass rush and certainly could at his new home with the Atlanta Falcons. The NFL‘s undisputed king of the strip-sack, in my opinion, the veteran edge rusher just has an incredible knack for knocking the ball out of a quarterbacks grasp just before release, and his return to the New York Giants late in 2011 played a colossal role in their ability to catch hot down the stretch to claim another Super Bowl title.
While Umenyiora finished his time in New York on a down year and walked into free agency, he feels confident that, at 31, the pass-rushing fiend has plenty left in the tank and can adapt to the first change in teams of his pro career.
“For me, I have to start all over again and show them exactly what I’m capable of,” Umenyiora said, via the Albany Herald. “Nobody cares what I did for the New York Giants. It’s what can I do for the Atlanta Falcons, and they expect big things from me. I expect even bigger things from myself.”
However, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan just glosses over the fact that the man Umenyiora replaces, John Abraham, was just so much better last year at what Umenyiora does best. Pro Football Focus ranked Umenyiora 22nd in pass rushing productivity in 2012 while Abraham ranked sixth.
“John Abraham was a hell of a player, and Osi has kind of come in to fill that role,” Nolan said. “But every player is different and to say who’s better or not, some of it has to do with how that person fits in with the guys around him. Sometimes it’s a little better chemistry-wise.”