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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Massaquoi, a fifth-round pick from Troy, has been active for just one game. He is listed as the third-string right end with fourth-year veteran Lawrence Sidbury second-string.

"They are all young guys that have not done the job yet," Nolan said. "They are talented young guys. They work well in practice. They've shown the ability to at least get the shot to do the job of playing defensive end. But all three of them are guys that we're hoping to develop, and we've got to start that process at some time so it looks like it will be it."

Edwards' departure means that the Falcons use a committee to complement Abraham, their only elite pass rusher since left end Patrick Kerney signed with Seattle as a free agent in 2007.

Kerney left Atlanta as the franchise's No. 3 career leader in sacks. The Falcons drafted Jamaal Anderson as his successor, but he never came close to justifying getting drafted eighth overall in 2007.

Anderson managed just 3.5 sacks in four seasons, lost the job to Biermann in Week 2 of 2010 and was cut in training camp last year.

"I really don't worry about who's on my other side so much anymore," Abraham said. "Being 13 years in the league, not having I guess a big-name guy beside really doesn't matter. My teammates here have done a great job and have helped me on the field. I know my main priority is to get to the quarterback so I really don't rationalize about having anyone else around me."

Now it's Biermann's turn. He has played a variety of roles under Nolan, even lining up deep at safety for snaps that confused quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Michael Vick in wins over Denver and Philadelphia.

"It's been fun and it's something obviously they wouldn't be doing if they didn't feel comfortable," Biermann said. "They're not going to put anybody out there in the position that they're going to make a fool out of them. It was kind of a touch-and-go thing on both sides. They had to feel me out, and I had to feel the scheme out. Things have continued to evolve, and it's been good so far."

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Follow George Henry at www.twitter.com/georgehenryAP

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