Osi Umenyiora to play hybrid role for Atlanta Falcons

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan refused to compare defensive end Osi Umenyiora to recently departed John Abraham earlier this offseason.

However, Nolan does plan to use Umenyiora in a similar fashion to how Abraham was last season: on both sides of the line and occasionally in a stand-up stance as a hybrid end-outside linebacker.

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Umenyiora sounded shaky about the prospect of being out in space, something he wasn't asked to do in his nine seasons with the New York Giants.

"Never really done that before, but in a situation like this where it's something that I might have to do, I just have to work," Umenyiora said, per The Associated Press. "I don't know if I'm going to do it during an actual game or not, but it's cool to come out here, get a feel for it and see if I can do it."

Nolan is known for insisting that his players understand a diverse set of positions in his defense. Umenyiora's pass rush dropped off last season with just six sacks, his lowest total since 2006, so finding other ways to use him is just good management. However, we don't expect Umenyiora to see many game-time reps without his hand in the dirt.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.