Jun 18, 2013; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) shown on the field during minicamp at the Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
There has been talk going around the stability of the outside linebacker position. Obviously Sean Weatherspoon has it locked down, but what about Stephen Nicholas? A lot of fans want to blame him for not being able to cover a tight end when in reality, the scheme wasn’t right and the fact that the quarterback had forever in the pocket. I don’t think that even the best linebacker can cover a tight end for 6-8 seconds at a time. So I don’t believe that Nicholas is a bad linebacker, I just believe he was there to receive the blame for a lackluster pass rush.
But I don’t believe his job is safe either. Akeem Dent is growing into a fine player. Mike laimed that the staff is watching Dent’s progression toward becoming a three-down linebacker. Dent may be making the move towards the outside if he is good enough.
Another Option may even be Kroy Biermann. He was a useful, versatile defensive end last season. In college, he played LB and has been receiving a lot of extra snaps at that position. He may be moving back to his old position. He has the tools and he may be damn good at it.
The wildcard is Paul Worrilow. I tend to get excited about standout players in the preseason hoping for the next guy to break into the NFL as a great player that no one saw coming. I’m not predicting that with Worrilow, not after a single dominating performance. If I were Smith, I would be very impressed with that show and move him to second string to see how he does against even tougher competition. But if he can prove to be quality backup, then Stephen Nicholas may not be here for too long.
What are your thoughts?