DT Babineaux an underappreciated force for Falcons

Posted Dec. 30, 2010 @ 9:15 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux is on pace to finish with fewer sacks and tackles than he did in 2009, but a longtime team observer said the sixth-year veteran is having his best season yet by far.

After serving a one-game suspension in Week One — he was arrested on marijuana charges in late 2009 — Babineaux has been one of Atlanta's most disruptive defenders. One source said he deserved Pro Bowl consideration and that his pass rush from the middle has been a big reason for the improved sack numbers by DE John Abraham, who did make the Pro Bowl. Head coach Mike Smith mentioned Babineaux among the nine Falcons players who either have been named to the Pro Bowl or first alternates to the Pro Bowl who had standout performances this year during a press conference Thursday.

Babineaux was held out of practice Thursday with a shoulder injury, and it's not yet known if he'll play as the Falcons try to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC against the Panthers on Sunday.