FLOWERY BRANCH - John Abraham wants Peria Jerry to take a simple approach in his first NFL training camp.
A three-time Pro Bowl defensive end and an 11-year NFL veteran, Abraham doesn't hesitate to speak his mind with the Atlanta Falcons' younger players.
He likes what he's seen so far from Jerry, the league's No. 24 overall draft pick and a former standout defensive tackle from Mississippi, but the Falcons will practice twice today before wearing full pads Monday for the first time in camp.
Abraham is eager to see how Jerry reacts when trying to beat blocks from established offensive linemen like center Todd McClure and guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock.
'The biggest thing is don't make no mistakes,' Abraham said Saturday. 'We're not expecting him to go out there and get 16 sacks or break any records. We're just expecting him to make as little mistakes as possible. Mainly, we want him to know all the plays and what to do, where to be and things like that. We're not expecting to find Michael Strahan right now or Ray Lewis in his first year.'
Abraham has played in 33 straight games since undergoing a second major surgery on his abdomen in early 2007, but the on-field results of last season made him feel young again. With 16.5 sacks, he set a single-season career high for himself and for Atlanta, beating Joel Williams mark of 16 in 1980.
The 31-year-old Abraham indicated that he's ready to wear full pads after a restful offseason. He attended the Falcons' minicamp in May, but didn't participate in drills.
'Yeah, I'm feeling great. I went through it one time before in my franchise year (2005) with the (New York) Jets,' Abraham said. 'I didn't do the offseason stuff. I just did my own stuff to make sure I didn't get to banging. I played 16 games perfectly healthy.'
for rookie DBs
Coach Mike Smith liked what he saw from safety William Moore, a second-round draft pick, cornerback Chris Owens (third round) and cornerback William Middleton (fifth).
'That's an area that we're having a whole bunch of competition in,' Smith said. 'That's what training camp is all about.'
Moore is playing behind No. 1 free safety Erik Coleman. Owens and Middleton are battling for spots behind starters Von Hutchins on the left side and Chris Houston on the right. Brent Grimes, a first-time starter early last season, and Chevis Jackson, a third-round pick in '08, also are fighting for playing time.
Three years later
From 2004-06, former Atlanta coach Jim Mora often spoke about how much he appreciated linebacker Jamie Winborn from their time together in San Francisco.
It took Winborn three seasons longer than Mora originally wanted, but the former second-round draft pick from Stanford is finally in camp with the Falcons.
Winborn played five games for Jacksonville in 2005, enough time for him to earn the respect of Smith, the Jaguars' former defensive coordinator. With Smith entering his second season as head coach in Atlanta, Winborn is playing for his third team in four years, but his NFL experience could help to stabilize a young corps of linebackers.
Other than 11th-year veteran Mike Peterson, the Falcons are starting second-year middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and third-year veteran Stephen Nicholas on the outside. Coy Wire, an eighth-year veteran, played well enough in a backup role last year to earn four starts.
Winborn has started 32 of 92 career games with 407 tackles, 10 sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Mora, now the head coach in Seattle, was fired in Atlanta on Jan. 1, 2007.