FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons rookie defensive end Lawrence Sidbury has earned increased playing time down the stretch this season.
A fourth-round pick from Richmond, Sidbury has been active for every game, but has played mostly on special teams. He had three tackles and a sack against Philadelphia on Dec. 6 and one tackle against the Jets on Sunday.
The Falcons have been patient with the promising rookie, who's making the jump from Division I-AA to the NFL.
In a conversation with the AJC, Sidbury discusses his rookie season, learning NFL techniques and his unique relationship with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton, who rides him pretty hard.
Q: How did it go for you against the Jets? How many snaps did you get?
A: I don’t remember the amount, but I got out there a little bit. I'm just coming along trying to get better each week on defense and special teams. I'm just coming out and doing what they are asking me to do. Playing my role.
Q: Do you know how to get some more activity down the stretch?
A: Most definitely, that's what practice is for. Try to come out and get better. Hopefully I can get more snaps, but it starts in practice. Whatever they asked me to do, I'm going to do.
Q: What has been the biggest adjustment to learning how to rush the passer in the NFL?
A: I think the No. 1 thing is that the guys are better. That means you have to be better. Your technique has to be that much better. It's a learning process. A lot of times, you'll see young guys come out. A lot of them don't have the same senior success they had in college, but that's something you have to work through. You just have to keep getting better with your technique and your moves. It's just everything. I can't pinpoint one thing. I just have to get better.
Q: How would you grade your rookie year from learning, playing and just getting acclimated to the league?
A: I don't want to put a grade on it. It's definitely been a big learning experience for me. From everything, I can't tell you one thing that I've gotten better. I'm just trying to improve my game, just every aspect of it. I've done some good things, and there are some things I need to work on. That's part of it. I just have to continue to work and get better.
Q: How has it been working with Coach [Ray] Hamilton, an old defensive linemen in his own right?
A: It's been good. He definitely knows what he's talking about. He's a good coach. He's always telling me that the little things, you have to get those things down. He said you will make a lot of plays if you just master the little things. Those are some of the nuances of the game that I'm trying to get down. He works with me. Keeps me after practice, pulls me off to the side, and yells at me a little bit. All of that. He's doing a great job, and I've gotten better since I've been here. I'm in the process of learning how to be a pro.
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