It was generally considered a coup when Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim inked veteran pass rusher John Abraham to a two-year deal right before the beginnning of training camp in July.
After all, Abraham isn’t just any pass rusher. With 122 quarterback sacks on his résumé, the 35-year-old is the league’s active leader in that category — five more than Minnesota’s Jared Allen.
However, Week 1 didn’t go well for Abraham, as he saw action on only 20 defensive snaps in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, and didn’t generate much of a rush on any of them.
“It’s been tough,” Abraham said Friday about the adjustment to a new role with a new team. “It’s been tough, I can’t lie about that and say I’m totally into it yet, but I’m taking it in stride and I’m trying to do the best I can when I’m in there.
“I’m trying to put a little life in the team when I’m in there, I’m trying to show them that I still got a little something left in the tank. That’s my biggest thing — I know I still can play and I’m just going to enjoy my role and what I’m doing right now.”
Head coach Bruce Arians said earlier in the week that the goal is to get Abraham at more snaps on defense this week against the Detroit Lions. Abraham says the goal is a simple one for him and the rest of the guys up front.
“Get to the quarterback, the same thing it is every week,” he said. “(Last week) we didn’t have as many opportunities, I think, to get a good pass rush like we wanted to. This week, it’s definitely going to be there, so we’ve got to show up.
“With me, Calais (Campbell), (Darnell) Dockett, and our linebacking crew, we’ve got to get there.”
Detroit did a nice job of keeping quarterback Matthew Stafford upright in their season-opening win over Minnesota last week. In 43 dropbacks, Stafford wasn’t sacked and was hit only three times while throwing for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
Abraham is aware of the challenge facing the Cardinals’ defense Sunday.
“I think they have a smart enough quarterback and wide receivers and running backs to get the ball out quick, so it’s going to be tough for us to get there.”