Today, we will cover the Falcons most consistent defensive tackle since Rod Coleman. Jonathan Babineaux has acquired many a nickname such as U.S.S. Babineaux, or Babs. but no matter what you call him, his play speaks for itself. He has given his whole career to Atlanta and is still going strong. All statistics have been referenced from edraft.com and sportrac.com.
Recent Regular Season Statistics:
Week 9 Dallas Cowboys- 5 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defensed
Week 10 New Orleans Saints- 1 solo tackle
Week 11 Arizona Cardinals- 2 solo tackles and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown
Week 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1 solo tackle and 1 assisted tackle
Week 13 New Orleans Saints- 0 tackles, 1 pass defensed, and 1 interception
Week 14 Carolina Panthers- 0 tackles
Week 15 New York Giants- 1 assisted tackle
Week 16 Detroit Lions- 1 assisted tackle
Week 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers-2 solo tackles
Recent Post-Season Statistics:
Divisional Round Seattle Seahawks- 1 solo and 2 assisted tackles along with 1 fumble recovery
NFC Championship San Francisco 49ers- 3 solo and 1 assisted tackles
Babs has been the anchor for this defense, and we get why in this snapshot. When you break his stats down on a chart, nothing really stands out, but when it is laid out in this format it is apparent why he is so good. Personally, I would describe his style of play as heads up plays. As in, he is very aware at all times. The fumble recovery in the Arizona was a testament to that. He frequently bats down passes and year in and year out will get interceptions from those batted down passes. Something else of note is in 2012 Babs made a name for himself as statistically one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the game. He ranked second among defensive tackles for tackles for a loss, which is just another reason why numbers won’t tell the whole story.
The Babineaux name isn’t only familiar to the Atlanta Falcons. Jonathan has a younger brother Jordan who played 2012 with the Tennessee Titans, but is currently a free agent. Hope to see Jordan find employment by the beginning of the season. Staying on par with the Falcons organization Babs is very active with charitable events. Jordan and Jonathan teamed up to bring the Babineaux Family Foundation. The foundation’s Facebook page says the non-profit helps the organization to facilitate community development for research for lupus. Babs is also very active with the United Way. He has teamed up with the organization in their quest to cut the drop-out rate in half. He has given away tickets to a New Orleans game to help the organization. On this very day he has recruited 1237 volunteers for the United Way to help teach and mentor the youth of America. He also promotes and donates to over 57 charities and foundations. Hey not only that but he is one of the team captains. Here is a link to pledge with Babs at the United Way, http://www.unitedway.org/team-nfl/players/jonathan-babineaux/. Also here is the link for the Babineaux Family Foundation, http://www.babineauxbrothers.org/. I am sure both Babineaux brothers would appreciate any and all donations for their sponsored foundations.
Future with the Team:
The future for U.S.S. Babineaux, had to sneak it in there at least once, is sadly not so clear. He is only under contract for the 2013 season. He is coming off of a pretty hefty contract for a defensive tackle, not that he hasn’t earned it. The contract was for 5-years, worth 25 million dollars. 2013 being the last year means the last of that cap hit is going to be 5.2 million dollars. As a fan it would be nice to say that his 2014 extension will be a lock, but it is far from it. Taking into consideration the team is offense focused and other very expensive contracts are coming, along with the focus for the team to go younger, might spell the sad end to his career as a Falcon. This is not a guarantee by any means, but after the 2012-2013 offseason and the subsequent release of many starting caliber players that had age working against them, the Falcons might stay on the same path and choose to go younger. This will all depend on the draft and the other up and coming defensive tackles on the roster. With all of the negative stuff aside I say he has made a pretty good argument for why the team SHOULD keep him and they very well might keep him depending on the price.
Possible Roles Next Year:
Babineaux is more than likely going to be the main interior lineman for yet another year. He is the best defensive tackle on the roster and I am sure Nolan will try to use him to his fullest. Babs’ efforts and abilities guarantee a starting role in 2013 and should mean another successful year. With the new approach of utilizing the younger players more often he might get more help outside of Corey Peters and may mean better play, but that will remain to be seen.
Babineaux is truly a team captain for this Atlanta Falcons team. For a team that makes giving to charities mandatory, he goes above and beyond. He seems seriously dedicated to giving his time and effort to help others and is an amazing person for it. He is one of the few shining defensive tackles on a team that drastically needs them. His consistency on and off the field are what make Jonathan Joel Babineaux a Fan Favorite.