According to the Atlanta Falcons official site, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been ruled out for the matchup with the Cowboys on Sunday with his ankle sprain.
This isn’t particularly good news for the Falcons, as Weatherspoon has long been the best linebacker on this Atlanta defense. He’s active in the passing game. He’s active playing the run. He gets after the quarterback. He excels at tackling in space. To say that the lack of Weatherspoon in the lineup would not be felt would be an outright lie.
Sure, it’s not good news. The only silver lining is that Dallas, the Falcons opponent on Sunday, doesn’t run the ball very much. They aren’t a really good between the tackles running team. To even the playing field for Dallas, their best runner, DeMarco Murray, is already being doubted for a return against the Falcons. It’ll be interesting to see if Murray returns. If he doesn’t the lack of Weatherspoon won’t be felt so much.
I would expect the Falcons to slide Stephen Nicholas to weakside linebacker, and use veteran Mike Peterson at strongside linebacker, the position Nicholas would be vacating to replace Weatherspoon. Peterson is solid, but he certainly doesn’t bring everything athletically that ‘Spoon brings to the table.