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Falcons To Heavily Rotate Starting Defensive Ends In 2011

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I'm filing this one under not very surprising.

The Atlanta Falcons have proven time and time again that they love a good rotation on defense, from who gets to play nickel back to who comes in to play outside linebacker on third and long. So much the better if it's on the line, where any and all defensive tackles with a pulse and a uniform got snaps in 2010. Knowing the tendencies of this coaching staff, it's less than shocking to see that Peter King thinks Kroy Biermann is going to get plenty of run at end this season.

It makes sense, but not for the reasons Sports Illustrated's most notorious columnist thinks it does.

As I've mentioned at least fifteen times in the last few months, Biermann was actually an above-average defensive end whose lack of sacks belies his value. The Falcons didn't add Ray Edwards so the former Minnesota Viking could sit on the bench, but they didn't sign him because Biermann deserves to ride the pine, either.

So the Falcons will rotate in their ends all season long. John Abraham is the clearly alpha male when it comes to pass rushing, and he and Edwards are more likely to be on the field in that situation. Indeed, they're likely to be listed as the team's starters every week. But Biermann's all-around skills and motor mean he'll still be getting plenty of snaps, spelling Abe and Edwards when they're tired or in clear rushing situations. Chauncey Davis, Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews will get a handful of snaps a game between them.

So adding Edwards does two things: It gives the Falcons much better depth at the position, and it gives them more punch to their pass rush. Improving the depth makes it much more likely that the Falcons can put relatively fresh players on the field late in the game, which will do more for the pass rush than I think most people appreciate.

How do you think the rotation will shake out? Sound off!