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Biermann steps forward as starting DE for Falcons

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Ray Edwards' loss is Kroy Biermann's gain for the Atlanta Falcons.

Biermann took over as a starting defensive end earlier this week after the Falcons cut Edwards, but the move was a bit ceremonial.

Biermann had already started three times at left end ahead Edwards, whose goodwill expired after he managed no sacks in nine games this year and just 3.5 in 16 games last season.

Right end John Abraham, the NFL's active career sacks leader, believes Biermann deserves the job full-time.

"He'll do whatever they want him to do," Abraham said. "He's just a great all-around guy and he has no stipulations about what he will and will not do."

That didn't seem to be the case with Edwards, who had a combined 16.5 sacks in his last two years before leaving Minnesota as a free agent.

Edwards' inability to fit in, however, no longer concerns tackle Jonathan Babineaux, the longest-tenured Falcons defensive player at eight years.

"You've just got to move on, you know?" Babineaux said. "It's unfortunate that the situation happened. I don't know to what extent or why it happened, but I'm a player. I do what I'm told. That's why we have management, GMs and a team president to take care of stuff like that."

Biermann, who started 14 games in 2010, originally lost the left end job last year when the NFL lockout ended and Atlanta signed Edwards to a contract with $11 million guaranteed.

But after watching Biermann flourish in the scheme designed by first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the Falcons decided that Edwards was no longer needed in a diminished role.

Biermann, who's never missed a game since getting drafted in the fifth round of '08, is eager to show that he's worthy of the promotion. He has eight tackles for lost yardage and two sacks.

"I approach my job the same every day and that is to come here, work hard, get better and do whatever I can to help this team win," Biermann said. "Being asked to do multiple positions and cover kicks and play the game of football, however I can contribute and help this organization, I'm glad to do it."

Cliff Matthews and rookie Jonathan Massaquoi also are likely play additional snaps when Atlanta (8-1) hosts Arizona (4-5) on Sunday.

Matthews has earned playing time by making the most of his chances in practice. A seventh-round pick from South Carolina last year, Matthews was inactive for every game as a rookie and has been used sparingly in just four games this season.

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