I let all of you know the other day that Falcons MLB Lofa Tatupu had suffered a pectoral injury that would keep him out for at least the beginning of training camp. I mentioned that the situation basically forced the Falcons hand with allowing Akeem Dent to take all of the first team snaps which given him a much better chance of starting the season at MLB. But also important with the injury to Tatupu is that it definitely hurt the Falcons depth at linebacker. That forced the Falcons hands into signing Mike Peterson this afternoon.
Peterson has played Outside linebacker the past couple seasons for the Falcons. He was never a tremendous playmaker, but he came up with his fair share of plays, and most importantly provided a veteran presence in the linebacking corps. He knows how to play the LB position extremely well, so whatever he has lost in youthful athleticism and agility, he can make up for with football intelligence.
The question then becomes, what is the Falcons backup situation if Akeem Dent doesn’t work out, or suffers an injury and needs a replacement? I think it means that the Falcons could use OLBs Stephen Nicholas or Sean Weatherspoon (preferably Nicholas) in the MLB position if Dent is injured or isn’t performing. That being said, if Tatupu’s injury is long term, the Falcons would be well served to sign an additional LB who can specifically play the inside position. Tatupu may end up getting the boot or hitting IR to make room for the potential free-agent.