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How Much Does Patrick Kerney Have Left for the Hawks?

Mike Sando of ESPN spent the day at Hawks camp, and came up with some key questions about the club. Here’s one of them:

2. How much does Patrick Kerney have left?

The 32-year-old defensive end has not exceeded 6.5 sacks in three of the past four seasons. He has missed 16 of 48 games over the past three seasons, and he’s coming off another shoulder surgery.

But his 14.5-sack season two years ago stands as evidence of what Kerney can accomplish when healthy. The pressure he can put on opposing quarterbacks would dramatically upgrade a pass defense that ranked 32nd last season.

Kerney is sporting a thicker physique without sacrificing his trademark chiseled look. He very much looks the part. Staying healthy remains the priority, however, and Kerney’s former dominance has not shown in practices to this point. He recently failed to get pressure during three consecutive rushes against a backup tackle during one practice. Kerney did not appear to be rushing with his usual abandon.

Expect him to cut loose when the games start counting.

“I have a history in training camp of pushing, pushing, pushing and having soft-tissue stuff — hamstring strains, groin strains — and we are making sure that doesn’t happen,” Kerney said. “I’m just a lot less likely to suffer them [during the regular season] because it’s not the training camp repeated, repeated pounding and pounding and pounding.”

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