Many may have forgotten, but Kroy Biermann proved to the Falcons coaching staff long ago that he's not just a valuable rotational defensive end. His value on special teams is equal, if not greater.
Late in the 2009 season, when the Falcons were chasing a 9-7 season to secure the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history, kicker Matt Bryant went down with an injury in a game against Buffalo and Biermann stepped in to handle the kickoff duties. He'd not kicked since high school but he had three kickoffs in the game for 67, 58 and 54 yards.
Biermann has been highly valued for his efforts on special teams since he joined the team in 2008 as a draft pick. This season he's leading the team with four special teams tackles in addition to 10 tackles on defense and two quarterback hits.
On Wednesday, Falcons head coach Mike Smith explained how valuable Biermann is.
"Kroy's got tough duty every week when you see how much he's in the rotation every week," Smith said. "Defensively, he's getting quite a few snaps there. He's one of our best special teams players. Kroy does a good job with us on teams. He's on the Big-4, which means he's on both coverage and both return units"
Biermann's played almost every snap on special teams but he's been one of Atlanta's top rotational players on defense, subbing in at defensive end and stand-up pass rusher in Mike Nolan's diverse scheme.
Of Atlanta's 262 snaps on defense this season, Biermann has played in 179 of them, 68 percent.
Smith is pleased with what he's getting from one of his most versatile players in the two phases of the game that he participates in, even though they sometimes have to make sure he's got enough left in the tank to finish out games.
"Sometimes we have to rest him late in the ballgame after he's covered kicks but he think he's done a really nice job," Smith said. "He hasn't had the sack production but I think he's done a nice job pressuring the quarterback."