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Biermann looks to "Personal drive" for success


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- In more than 20 years of coaching the defensive line, Ray Hamilton has learned a thing or two about getting under the skins of opposing offensive linemen.

"Offensive linemen don't want to see smaller guys out there," the Falcons defensive line coach said.

As a result, teams across the NFL work hard to secure the services of trim, speedy pass rushers. The Falcons selected defensive end Kroy Biermann in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft (154th overall) with hopes he can become the perfect pest to large, pass-protecting offensive tackles.

At 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds, Biermann has the look of a linebacker. In fact, some teams in the NFL had the rookie out of Montana graded at that position. The Falcons will use him at his college position, where he won the 2007 Buck Buchanan Award, which is given to the best defensive player in the Football Championship Series (formerly Division IAA). He used his burst off the snap, instincts and high motor to rack up gaudy numbers last season (72 tackles, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles).

Experience and skill at multiple positions, however, could pay dividends.

"I'm just excited to be here," Biermann said. "I didn't have any plans to play defensive end in college but that's where I got moved to. I just took it and ran with it. That's where I succeed and that's where they put me here. I'm going to take it, run with it and see if that's where I can succeed at this level."

According to Hamilton, Biermann already has some of the tools needed to terrorize quarterbacks in the NFL. Unlike some smaller pass-rush specialists, Biermann carries the traits of an every down lineman.

"Kroy knows how to play defensive line," Hamilton said Thursday. "He's got the speed so he's already got one advantage."

Biermann can be seen during organized team activities working one-on-one with Hamilton, himself a veteran pass rusher in the NFL. The two focus on the small things about playing defensive line -- like using hands to deflect holding offensive linemen.

Hamilton knows the tricks the opposition uses to slow speed rushers and he's taking every chance to warning Biermann.

"He's getting strength in the weight room," Hamilton said. "The tackles are bigger in the NFL and it's about using his hands. Offensive linemen can reach out, grab you and hold you inside (the shoulder pads). He's a speed rusher. He uses his speed as an advantage and he can use his hands to keep them from holding him."

But perhaps the greatest strength Biermann will have early in his career is a relentless drive to make it to to the quarterback.

Offensive linemen aren't fans of that, either.

"I just have to set my personal drive and the personal goals I've set for myself," Biermann said. "I'm confident I can compete at this level and I come out every day willing to work hard and get better. My goal is to touch the ball on every play. I want to be around the ball. I want to be around the tackle. Whether it's getting there off a slick move or hard work I just want to be there. I would say my motor is (something) that's under estimated."

 

Just when I was starting to forget about Biermann this comes along and gets me excited about him again.

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Jimusmc (6/14/2008)
very good read, he will be a great DE in this league, im sure he's abe's replacement if he can make it

Definatly, while John hasn't slowed down any yet, he's still been in the league, what 8 years? You never know when wear and tear will start to show. Hopefully he's showing Kroy the ropes, not many better teachers at the position.

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Dem Birds Can Fly (6/14/2008)
Jimusmc (6/14/2008)
very good read, he will be a great DE in this league, im sure he's abe's replacement if he can make it

Definatly, while John hasn't slowed down any yet, he's still been in the league, what 8 years? You never know when wear and tear will start to show. Hopefully he's showing Kroy the ropes, not many better teachers at the position.

yep, you never know football is a dangerous game, anything can happen to any player at any time.

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