Jump to content

Hard Work Nothing New for Falcons Defensive End

Dem Birds

Recommended Posts

Posting for those that don't visit the homepage before coming here.....

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The way Falcons’ second-year defensive end Kroy Biermann has played so far this young season, it’s as if he envisions the opposing offensive line much as he does his native state of Montana: vast terrain and wide open spaces.

Little thus far appears to have stood in the path of Biermann, who recorded two sacks and a forced fumble in the season-opening win over Miami. He had another sack in the preseason.

An under-sized end coming out of Football Championship Subdivision (the former I-AA) University of Montana as a fifth-round pick in 2008, Biermann’s success is the product of relentless work and toughness born out of the wilds of one of the country’s largest -- but least populous -- states.

“Last year he was a wild, raw rookie,” Falcons defensive line coach Ray Hamilton said. “This year he’s learned more and he knows how it feels to be in a game.”

Biermann, who contributed on special teams last season and recorded two sacks as a rookie, has learned new techniques and he’s seeing the game better. If he stays on his current development track, as Hamilton expects, he could end up being another one of the draft-day gems of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. After all, how many people would expect a player who weighed only 241 pounds after his first pro season to be an effective NFL pass rusher?

One of the reasons for Biermann’s improvement is the dedication he has shown in putting on 20 pounds during the offseason. Biermann said he only spent a few weeks in Montana during his vacation, choosing instead to remain in Atlanta to work out and watch film. He also spent time in Indianapolis working with personal trainer Greg Moore of the St. Vincent Sports Performance Center, which his agent helped to find for him.

Falcons offensive guard Harvey Dahl said he has seen the fruits of Biermann’s labor.

“He’s just one of those guys that, no matter when you see him in the building, he’s always working,” Dahl said. “In the weight room, on the practice field, he’s honing everything he does, honing his craft… You can see the progression this spring, in the weight room, getting stronger, and I think it really paid off for him, just working on all his pass-rushing. He’s really going to be someone that teams are going to have to look at because he’s a really tough, physical player.”

Biermann has profited from being on the field at the same time as John Abraham, one of the league’s top pass rushers, as well as from Abraham’s tutelage. But while Biermann might be soft-spoken on the field, his loud on-field presence might have let out the secret of his play.

“There’s no doubt we remember him from last year,” said Carolina Panthers Head Coach John Fox, who must find a way to protect quarterback Jake Delhomme this week after his offensive line surrendered five sacks last week against Philadelphia. “You turn on the kickoff coverage you definitely know who he is. He’s a guy who’s a young player that I think’s made a lot of progress…. They’ve got a very talented group as they always have and they have a pretty good wave of guys going through there. And he’s definitely one of them.”

Biermann has had to adjust to the speed, size and heat of NFL competition. He's also had to adjust to the speed, size and heat of Atlanta – especially when winter temperatures in Montana hovered between zero and 15 degrees with wind chills below zero.

His hometown of Hardin, Mont., has a population of 3,000. He graduated from high school with about 85 students. At the University of Montana, he went to school in a city, Missoula, with a population of 100,000.

To compare, Hall County, where the Falcons’ keep their practice facility, is home to 184,000 people alone -- part of metro Atlanta’s 5 million-plus residents.

“I always thought Reserve Street in Missoula was pretty bad for traffic,” he said. “When you have eight lanes [in Atlanta] completely stopped, it’s pretty wild. You adapt, you adjust. It takes a while to get used to the heat and the humidity, the different culture, but I feel welcome and I think I’ve done well adapting and adjusting.”

Part of what seems to have allowed him to adjust is that toughness.

Hamilton said Biermann is “one of the toughest guys we’ve got” who excels at “the violence of the game.” That toughness, the coach said, allows a player to “just [be] able to go in there and blow them up. Stick your hand in there, stick your head in there. Play tough… One of the rushes he got a guy, grabbed him and threw him down.”

In high school, Biermann competed in wrestling -- a one-on-one sport in which those in possession of mental and physical toughness reign. As a junior, Biermann placed second in the state at 189 pounds and as a senior year he came in second again at 215. He recalls “a lot of hungry nights” from having to cut weight. At his lowest, he maintained 3 percent body fat.

“I was flirting with the edge,” he said. “It was fun. It was the best shape of my life.”

Ironically, now his job is to gain as much weight as possible, which isn't always easy.

Nonetheless, the lessons of wrestling -- and his Montana upbringing -- have remained.

Gotta love Biermann. I hope he continues to play and improve like he has thus far, he'll be unstoppable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love the guy, I do have a problem with people who say he just is a high motor guy, he is a great athlete as well. The guy shows it on kickoffs not too many DEs are going to be the second guy down the field and agile enough to tackle a KR to boot. Can you imagine Jamaal doing kickoffs, the kicker probably would beat him down field. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...