The FalconsLife message board on AtlantaFalcons.com is where die-hard Falcons fans go to talk, share ideas and discuss every imaginable topic concerning the Falcons.
During the offseason we'll take a look at a hot topic on the Talk About the Falcons department of FalconsLife and examine what's on the minds of Falcons fans.
This week's topic, started on Friday afternoon, hasn't generated much discussion yet, but it surely will. Tobyd77 posed this question to FalconsLife: Kroy Bierman avg. 3 sacks per season, can Nolan squeeze out more?
It's a sound question and one we'll tackle here.
Biermann, drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, has 12.5 sacks over his four-year career. Biermann's best season came in 2009 when he had five sacks. Last season his total dropped to 2.5. Biermann has impressed the team enough with his high-motor play over the last four seasons to recently re-sign him.
As a 26-year-old pass rusher, Biermann has shown enough promise to believe he can at worst continue his effective play, but is likely to continue to improve.
The poster for this thread shares some of Biermann's stats, produced by football research website ProFootballFocus.com. In 2009, according to PFF, Biermann took 324 pass-rushing snaps and accumulated five sacks, six quarterback hits and 18 quarterback hurries. In 2010 he had 34 hurries, ten quarterback hits and three sacks on 394 pass-rushing snaps.
Biermann has demonstrated an ability to get around the quarterback in his time with Atlanta and Tobyd77's evidence supports that. In a scheme that could provide the defensive end with more opportunities to blitz from a variety of places on the field and situations, it isn't a crazy thought to believe Biermann could see a rise in sack totals in 2012.
Mike Nolan, the Falcons' new defensive coordinator, has a history of defenses that use pressure as the cornerstone of what they do. The coordinator's track record with producing players able to get sacks and improving performance is notable, especially in regards to Biermann.
Miami's defensive end Cameron Wake is regarded as one of the best young pass rushers in the NFL currently. As a rookie in 2009, Wake produced 5.5 sacks. When Nolan took over the Dolphins' defense in 2010, Wake's totals jumped to 14. Rookie linebacker Koa Misi had 4.5 sacks under Nolan that same year. In total, Nolan's defense had five players with three or more sacks.
In 2011, Miami defensive tackle Jared Odrick, under Nolan, had six sacks. His rookie season in 2010, was shortened to one single game after suffering an injury. The Dolphins defense in 2011 featured four players with three or more sacks.
Going back even further, Nolan, as the defensive coordinator of the Broncos in 2009, engineered a defense that saw five players accumulate three or more sacks. Nolan led the way for another pass rushing superstar, Elvis Dumervil. After a five sack season in 2008, Dumervil broke out onto the league with 17 sacks.
Nolan's history of producing players with generous sack totals means the future may look bright for Biermann. In Biermann the Falcons have a head's up player (two interceptions in the last two seasons) that has shown a commitment to improving every season and brings a team-first attitude (served as the team's emergency kicker in 2009). The pairing of Nolan and Biermann could be a lucrative one for the Falcons in 2012.