The Importance Of Osi In ATL
Since entering the NFL in 2003, new Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora has accumulated 75 sacks of opposing quarterbacks.
The rest of the defensive ends on the Falcons roster have accounted for 16.5 sacks total in their careers. If you add in the defensive tackles, Osi remains comfortably ahead as the total rises to just 40 career sacks.
Clearly, Umenyiora will be expected to get to the quarterback while providing an example for the Falcons young pass rushers in 2013. Since 2004, every Super Bowl champion but one has finished the regular season in the top five in team sacks or as the playoffs team sack leader. While turnovers have a direct correlation to regular season wins and losses, the ability for a defense to reach the opposing quarterback has consistently led to championships. Umenyiora has been part of two teams, the 2007 and 2011 New York Giants, in which the team's ability to create pressure and sack the quarterback led to upset wins in the Super Bowl.
The 2012 Atlanta Falcons managed just 29 sacks, good enough for the NFL's 28th ranking in that category. With defensive tackle Vance Walker leaving in free agency and defensive end John Abraham still a free agent, the Falcons have lost 13 sacks from their 2012 total. If the 2013 Falcons are to be more capable of reaching the quarterback, Umenyiora must display the form he showed through his years in New York.
With a rookie in Desmond Trufant manning one corner and another who is expected to play a lot in Robert Alford, Osi Umenyiora has to be huge for the Falcons in 2013.
You make an excellent point. The best way to help the Falcons' young corners develop is by getting pressure on the quarterback. If Drew Brees can sit back in the pocket, he'll pick the rookies apart. Umenyiora was brought in to bring the heat and take some of the heat of the young secondary.