Kroy Biermann is one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. While he isn't the talk of water-coolers across the country just yet, he is poised to be one of this season's brightest NFL defensive stars.
Kroy was drafted as a defensive end in the fifth round out of the University of Montana, where he was named Big Sky Defensive MVP in 2007 and won the Buck Buchanan Award . During draft day,while the media was focused on new franchise QB Matt Ryan, Falcon fans all over the country were excited that the Falcons were able to land Biermann.
Known as a relentless pass rusher with a limitless motor, Kroy has been used as part of the Falcons rotational scheme at defensive end. That role could very well expand this season as Biermann has made use of every snap to better himself and his teammates.
In his limited playing time last season he tallied five sacks, forced one fumble, and returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Saints. All this with only two official starts under his belt.
Mix in his ability to step in as a kicker and you start to understand why Kroy won't remain a secret for much longer.
I spoke with Kroy from the offices of the Exclusive Sports Group in Indianapolis where he spends his offseason training. Kroy was very forthcoming and direct. While some of his answers were almost exactly what a fan would want to hear, at no time was he ever insincere or just toeing the company line.
Several of the questions came straight from the fans at The Atlanta Falcons Official Message Board , and Kroy was more than happy to answer them.
GL : Are you in Indy specifically for training and is this something you do every year?
KB : Yes it is. I have a personal trainer here through St.Vincents Sports Performance and it's the same place that I trained before the combine (Where he was the top performer in the vertical jump and 3 cone drill). I really enjoyed the trainer, got along with him and he had the same ideas about gaining strength and weight. So I come back here every year.
GL : What do you think your ideal playing weight should be and where are you at now?
KB : I think ideal weight playing wise is 265 and right now I'm sitting at 260 so I don't really have to much more to put on. Just trying to gain great weight, don't want to put anything bad on. I'm still fast, still very agile and that weight helps in the run defense aspect of the game so I feel happy with where I am at right now.
GL : What's your diet like during offseason workouts?
KB : Its very high caloric. I eat a lot of calories per day. Low fat stuff, a lot of carbohydrates with a lot of protein. I go on TheFreshDiet.com , it has daily menus of things you can choose that you want to eat. I go on and choose a breakfast, lunch, and dinner and they do a great job with everything calorie wise, carbs, protein, and everything so I eat a lot of my food from there.
GL : Who were your personal heroes growing up?
KB : We lived in the country so I wasn't too in-tune with the media. I grew up with three channels on TV and didn't have the Internet so my dad was a very big influence on my life and still is to this day. My church leaders growing up, pastors and youth group leaders were very important in my life. So I would say they were influential in raising me into who I am today.
GL : Did you have any sports heroes? What were some of the posters you had on your walls?
KB : I remember as a little kid I had a poster of a Denver Broncos running back...Terrell Davis. I never really followed sports too much on a professional level or even a collegiate level. I played them, I liked playing them but was never to big on following them.
GL : You were drafted No. 154 in the fifth round by the Falcons. Did you have any draft day expectations? Did you think you would go higher or lower than you were selected?
KB : No. I was enthusiastic to be drafted and felt very blessed to get that opportunity. Then as I went through the season in my first year and got acquainted with the staff, the owner, the GM and what they wanted me to do there I felt like it was such a great fit. I was super excited to be there and was very impressed with the organization.
GL : Your transition from the college game to the pro game, was it more difficult than you envisioned and what did you find that was tougher than expected?
KB : I wouldn't say it was more difficult, it was definitely hard. The speed of the game. Everyone in the NFL are very, very good athletes and they're all there to make a living and to be successful at the game of football.
So I'd say the biggest transition is the speed of the game and the amount of time; the hours a day put into learning the game, studying films, practicing, lifting, it's an intense job and it's definitely a job.
GL : Has playing with John Abraham improved your game and how?
KB : Yes, a tremendous amount. Just being around him and studying him as he goes about his business, how he approaches studying film and working his tendencies and his moves has been very beneficial to my career so far. Even my coach Ray Hamilton, Sugar Ray, he's just a great coach and he really focuses on technique and perfecting that technique and going in with a plan and not just being out there running around the edge and hoping you get there.
He does a great job continuing to stress technique and will really work you as an individual so it's been a great fit and a great opportunity for me.
GL : How much of an impact will a healthy Peria Jerry make on the defense this year?
KB : It will be great having another D-tackle to produce numbers, sacks, tackles, TFL's. You can never have enough of those on a defense. With him being healthy and being a part of the team and playing out there for us is going to be great. I'm looking forward to it.
GL : Do you have a preference playing left defensive end or right?
KB : No, not really. I'm just excited to be out there and excited to get the opportunities I've been given. If I had to choose I'd say I'm a more dominant left end. It just feels more natural to me but I can play either way and I can succeed on either side so I feel blessed just to be out there.
GL : Has there been any talk about moving you to a full time starting position and using you less as a rotational player?
KB : No. I haven't discussed that yet. I've been away this off-season and haven't had too many chances to speak with the coaches.
GL : There's been some talk in the media about the Falcons possibly acquiring a defensive end with their 19th pick in the draft. The AJC recently ran a blog about the Falcons and acquiring DE Charles Grant. What are your thoughts on that? Does it drive your harder or does it affect you at all?
KB : It's going to be up to the Falcons what they choose to do with their draft picks. I know that the owner, the GM, and head coach want to put together a winning team, they want to be a successful team. I'm doing my best to improve and to be a great athlete out on the field for them and do everything I possibly can on my part to help them be successful.
I'm excited for what's to come this following year. The guys on the team now are working extremely hard to be successful and it will be exciting to see what happens in the draft.
GL : Who would you say is the toughest offensive lineman you have faced so far in your pro career?
KB : I know both the Saints tackles were pretty good. When I went against Trueblood he was a very good tackle, could move his feet and was pretty athletic for a tackle. They're all good, they're there for a reason they're there to protect their QB and they're all pretty good.
GL : At the start of each season do you set personal goals for yourself such as starting a set number of games or sacks per season?
KB : Yes, I always set goals and do everything possible to achieve those goals but in general its just to continue to improve upon the season I had last year. Just keep building as an individual in the game of football and personally with statistics and number wise.
I want to improve and do everything I can to help this franchise be a successful Super Bowl team and I'm trying to do my part as they want me to.
GL : What are your impressions of Lawrence Sidbury and can the fans expect to see more of him in the future?
KB : He's a hard worker, he's strong, he's fast. He kind of reminded me [of myself] as a rookie. He was from a D-1 AA school like I was. Transitioning into the NFL is a hard process for a rookie. I thought he did good and I think he's working hard in the off-season and working to help the team improve.
What they have planned for him I don't know, I can't speak for him but I'm excited hes on the team and that he's a part of it.
GL : Have the coaches ever discussed with you the idea of playing some outside linebacker?
KB : No. That's never been discussed.
GL : Since your debut last season as a kicker, do the coaches have you practice kicking with the special teams unit?
KB : No I never have specifically worked on my kicking in the NFL. I did it in high school and hadn't done it since then. I think my job as a kicker was short lived but it's something I can do if I have to but I'm not really practicing it.
GL : Your Facebook profile picture shows you reading to a group of children. Do you have a charity or organization where you work with kids?
KB : Not specifically yet. I've done a lot of things with Atlanta Children's Hospital . I work side by side with Curtis Lofton. He's a big part of Atlanta Children's Hospital. I just enjoy visiting kids in need and that need their spirits uplifted. I enjoy going to schools and talking to kids and trying to motivate them and get them, or keep them, on the right track with their studies and staying out of trouble and things like that.
I just really enjoy kids. If any of them see this interview and want to ask me questions or if there is something my fans want to know I can definitely answer those. Become a fan on my fanpage on Facebook; it's an easier way to make them a part of my life when I can't be out there physically in the community.
KB : So far we're trying to get the Facebook thing rolling and it transfers to Twitter as well. Those are the major social networking sites that people are associated with so I think for now we're going to stick with that and see how this goes and see how it takes off. If somebody approaches me with something else we'll look into it.
GL : What do you like to do in the offseason, what are your hobbies?
KB : Being from Montana, even though I don't get back there to often, I enjoy anything outside. Hunting, fishing, just being outside. When I wasn't in the NFL I loved snowmobiles, I loved dirt bikes, loved snow skiing and things like that. I can't do that now just due to the fact that my body is my job. Just being outside.
I love animals, I love dogs and I have a couple of them. I play a few video games here and there. I read a little bit but for the most part it's just outside.
GL : Your thoughts on the Dunta Robinson acquisition?
KB: It's something that's going to be a fit for us I think. Again the staff made a good decision and I'm sure they put a lot of time and effort into knowing what they wanted to do this coming year and I think he's going to be a good fit.
GL : How do you and the team feel about the Saints winning the Super Bowl and does that push the team or create a sense of urgency?
KB : I haven't been around my teammates since then so I don't know the actual team feeling about. Personally it's exciting that they put together a great year, they're in our division and the outlook; we're going to be huntin'. We want to make it to the tournament this year and succeed while we're in so it's going to be an exciting year.
GL : If you weren't a pro football player what would you be doing?
KB : There's a a lot of things I would like to do in my lifetime. I studied criminology when I was in college and probably would be doing something with law enforcement. Whether it be on a police force or doing something with our armed forces, Navy or Secret Service.
I love to travel, I'm pretty adventurous. I want to climb Everest, I want to hike the Appalachian trail, I want to spend some time in Alaska. Who knows where I would be but I'm excited about where I'm at and feel very blessed and thankful.
GL : How many games will the Montana Grizzlies win in the NCAA basketball tournament?
KB: Gosh I don't want to jinx them so I'm not going to give a number but I'm excited that they're there. Very big thing. They worked hard to get there. I'm really excited that they're there and I wish them all the luck in the world and I hope they're successful this year.
For those interested in following Kroy on his Facebook or Twitter pages, just click on the links within the interview. Kroy doesn't use those pages just for show, he interacts almost daily with his fans.
Whether it's posting videos of his workouts, answering fan questions, or running contests for signed swag, he is very involved in keeping his fans informed.