Breakout linebacker Sean Weatherspoon came into his own last year as the Falcons starting outside linebacker. He made a big splash on the scene, mainly through his spoon serving gobbling session he’d have after every big play; an act that has long been his trademark, even since his Missouri days. This season, ‘Spoon’ will be asked to provide more of a leadership role both on and off the field. With the loss of Curtis Lofton to the rival Saints (don’t get me started), and the unfortunate injury and cutting of former pro-bowler Lofa Tatupu, Weatherspoon will have to be at the top of his game to help 2nd year middle linebacker and probable starter Akeem Dent.
With this being ‘Spoon’s’ third NFL season, he will be expected to play all over the place in new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan’s defense. “I’m just trying to be better than I was last year and help this team” said Weatherspoon in an interview for Falcons TV on AtlantaFalcons.com. When asked if his role has changed at all in this new defense, he responded with a bright smile. “I feel like we will be blitzing a little bit more than we have in the past…”
As a fan, I look forward to watching the evolution of this defense, and seeing how they use the different assets this team has acquired in the off season. With three solid corner-backs now on paper, it seems to fit the menu to blitz more often in order to put pressure on the quarterback to cause turnovers. Specifically, I look forward to watching the variations of Weatherspoon’s defensive alignment. “I’m moving around a lot more,” ‘Spoon’ said in the same interview. “I’m playing in the middle, I’m playing on the outside, doing a lot more things off the edge as well so it is definitely a difference.” As a fan that is exciting to hear…especially watching the defense give up first down after first down the past couple years.
There is no doubt ’Spoon’ will be asked to step into that leadership role and provide the excitement needed defensively in this league. You can tell in training camp he is hungry, and hopefully, come the season, his big appetite remains hearty.