And with Abraham out of the lineup, Shaun Ellis' play slipped over the second half of the season. With Abraham in the lineup in the first seven games, Ellis had nine sacks. Then in the final nine games, with Abraham hurt, Ellis had just 3.5 sacks. Ellis missed Abraham as did the whole Jets defense.
In the game that Abraham was injured, he might have had the most impressive half of pass rushing of any player in the NFL last season. He had 3.5 sacks in a little over a quarter, dominating the Eagles two Pro Bowl tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. It was an amazing performance.
Also remember in the season opener last season against the Washington Redskins, he dominated Redskins talented left tackle Chris Samuels. He finished with two sacks, stopped running back Ladell Betts for losses twice and tipped a pass.
Abraham is clearly the Jets best defensive player, and a rare talent, so to trade him at this point, with him under contract, would be counterproductive.
Ken Berger reported in Newsday on Friday - "Herman Edwards and General Manager Terry Bradway huddled at Weeb Ewbank Hall to plot extensive personnel changes, did not return several phone calls seeking comment. But a member of the organization, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that trading Abraham has been discussed as part of sweeping off-season plans to the return the team to playoff contention."
A high-ranking Jets official has no idea who this leak might be. But whoever it is, the concept is crazy.
Remember early last season, Edwards said that Abraham has Hall-of-Fame talent. Why would you trade a player that you think has a future in Canton?
Abraham is taking a lot of criticism now because of his disappointing 2003 season. True he deserves criticism for his DUI arrest. That was obviously irresponsible, but as far as missing significant time with a groin injury, why should he be ripped for that?
Some people have implied that Abraham doesn't deal with injuries well. That isn't fair. Remember in 2002, Abraham hurt his knee in the preseason. After missing most of training camp following knee surgery, he surprisingly returned for the season opener, and played the whole season on a gimpy knee and made the Pro Bowl.
And another reason the Jets should not trade Abraham is that Bryan Thomas had no sacks during the second half of the 2003 season starting for Abraham. None! So the idea that the team might think Thomas is ready to take over for Abraham seems like a leap of faith.
The Jets should not let Abraham go! A bad pass rush has a negative trickle down effect on a whole team. It leads to poor pass defense (i.e. - the 2003 Jets), keeps the defense on the field too long and the offense on the sidelines.
At the very least, if the Jets don't want to sign him to a long-term deal, they should keep him this year (he's under contract) and put a a tag on him (franchise or transition) next year. Let him prove over the next two years he has his act together and can stay healthy. But you can't let a player like this get away. "Abe is a special talent," said one Jets defensive lineman.
We hear the Jets new defensive line coach Denny Marcin is very excited about a chance to work with Abraham.
And the Jets should give him that chance.
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