Amidst all the celebration, bewilderment and numbers that came with the Falcons re-signing Jason Snelling, Kroy Biermann, Thomas DeCoud, Antone Smith and Michael Palmer, there was an important thread we should all spend a little time discussing.
That thread is versatility.
Every player named above can do multiple things well, though DeCoud to a lesser extent than the others given that he's asked to start and only play special teams as needed. It's no accident that these are the guys that the team has gotten deals done with ahead of the deadline. It's entirely by design.
Let's take a quick look at these players and what their roles are likely to be in 2012, excepting DeCoud:
- Kroy Biermann will be a reserve/part-time starter at defensive end and core special teamer
- Jason Snelling will play a little fullback, will serve as the team's third down back and will be asked to run and catch in Dirk Koetter's offense
- Antone Smith will be a core special teamer, potential returner and injury insurance at running back
- Michael Palmer will be asked to chip in on special teams and serve as a backup tight end
The one thing all four players have in common is their ability to do more than one thing well. Biermann, Smith and Palmer all play special teams, while Snelling can easily play two different positions if needed. They're known quantities, yes, and they're not necessarily game-changers. But they can fill more than one role and
The Falcons will, as I mentioned earlier today, be chasing some high-profile free agents. Those are guys who don't typically play special teams and are excellent at their narrowly defined roles, i.e., pass rusher. The Falcons are smart to fill their backup spots with players who know the system, are smart and hard-working and can fill as many roles as possible.
Whether you agree or not, this is how the team does business and how they will continue to do business. If it keeps a lot of key reserves around and keeps cash available for the impact guys, I'm perfectly happy.