Kroy Biermann cross trained at LB with Sean Weatherspoon out

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

The fifth-year defensive end was ready to go if the Falcons needed him.

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann has been the emergency linebacker for the team for the last three weeks due to depth issues, as reported by the AJC.

The Falcons have been without Sean Weatherspoon for the past three weeks because of an ankle injury. With the lack of depth, the Falcons potentially could have called on Biermann to fill the gaps.

"We only had four active linebackers on our roster," Smith said. "Two injuries would have put us in a position where Kroy Biermann would have had to play linebacker in an emergency situation."

Biermann is playing a hybrid position. He's more of a traditional defensive end in the 4-3 defense. When the Falcons use the 3-4 or 3-3-5 alignments, he's more of an outside linebacker.

"We ask him to rush the passer," Smith said. "We ask him to cover backs. We ask him to cover tight ends. We ask him to close the middle of the field. You just don't know where he's going to be."

Weatherspoon was limited in practice Wednesday, but he did not practice Thursday. Weatherspoon said before practice Wednesday that he would play this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Biermann, 27, was a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. In five seasons with Atlanta, Biermann has racked up 95 tackles and 14 1/2 sacks in 74 games. He started 20 of those games.

This season, Biermann has played in 10 games, starting three. He's racked up 21 tackles and two sacks.

The Falcons (9-1) travel to play the Bucs (6-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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