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Thursday, May 30, 2013
Expanded role for Kroy Biermann?

By Pat Yasinskas

Throughout the offseason, there’s been speculation that the role of Atlanta defensive end Kroy Biermann could expand to include some playing time at linebacker.

It sounds like that speculation will become reality.

“[Defensive coordinator Mike] Nolan’s playbook has some depth to it,’’ Biermann told the media after Wednesday’s workout. “I don’t even think that I’ve seen half of it. But he’s going to start opening it up, I think. Wherever they put me, I’ll play and I’m going to play to the best of my ability.”

I don’t think the Falcons are planning on a straight move of Biermann from defensive end to linebacker. I think they’re looking at more of a hybrid role. Biermann will play defensive end in some situations. But at 255 pounds, he might not be ideally suited to be an every-down defensive end. There could be some situations where the Falcons want to use Jonathan Massaquoi or one of their other young players at defensive end and take advantage of Biermann’s versatility by moving him to linebacker, where he could bring another dimension to the pass rush.

The Falcons have been creative with Biermann in the past, even dropping him into coverage at times. But I expect that creativity to become even more prevalent this year.

“Multiplicity on the defensive side of the ball is what we are looking for,’’ coach Mike Smith said. “We want to be as multiple as we possibly can. Kroy, last year, was a guy that lined up with his hand on the ground, standing up, he did some things in pass defense and he’s been very multiple. He’ll continue to have that role.’’