Throughout the offseason, cries of a need for a pass rush have come from Falcons fans, the media and bloggers alike. The reasons behind that, however, tend to get misconstrued with all the noise. A recent article from Pro Football Focus shows exactly why the need for a defensive end has nothing to do at all with replacing Kroy Biermann
The 2010 preseason was like the explosion most Falcons fans had been looking for. Every time Biermann suited up in the preseason, he was all over opposing quarterbacks. Three games played, three sacks.
This created much buzz around the then third-year defensive end out of Montana. The regular season played itself out and that same type of production wasn't there in the eyes of many. That had much to do with a sack total that didn't eclipse the mark he set during the preseason.
Biermann recorded just two sacks during the regular season — and with all the noise this offseason about needing to upgrade the pass rush, it'd be easy to assume that the need is based on Biermann's sack total.
Quite the contrary, as my good friend Dave Choate of The Falcoholic intelligently writes.
Choate writes of a recent Pro Football Focus article that shows — nay, PROVES — Biermann's affect on the defensive line was not only more than serviceable, but the stuff of great defensive end play.
According to Pro Football Focus, Biermann recorded 48 quarterback disruptions (which I can only assume includes pressures and hits), which was good enough for 28th in the league — just nine less than the Falcons' resident quarterback predator, John Abraham.
There's another stat Biermann recorded that shows exactly why the need to upgrade the pass rush isn't tied to Biermann's 2010 sack total. When Biermann was on the field, he got pressure on the quarterback 11.78 percent of the time.
As Pro Football Focus points out, that may not seem like a lot, but it put Biermann just behind Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and ahead — yes, ahead — of Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers. That, my friends, is among some of the best in the league.
Not a fan of stats and figures? I'll let Mr. Choate sum it up for you:
"This isn't sorcery. It's not black magic. It's not the mixed-up numbers of a bunch of pencil-pushing nerds who couldn't find their way into a football stadium with a map and a door-breaching shotgun. It's reputable statistics from guys who spend a lot of time studying this stuff, and their research tells us that Biermann was among the better defensive ends in the NFL."
As Choate argues — and I have on many occasions, as well — the need for pass rush comes more from the need to identify an heir apparent for Abraham and a whole lot less from the perception that Biermann somehow isn't producing.
With head coach Mike Smith's defensive line rotation, having a young bull-rusher who has a nose for getting to the quarterback would add just one more wrinkle to a front that had plenty of big games in the pressure category in 2010.
Also adding a wrinkle, based on the stats Pro Football Focus provided, would be Biermann's role as the Falcons' ticking time bomb. With numbers like he put up in 2010, it would seem that he's primed to have an explosive season in the very near future.