O’Brien Schofield lives to do the Dirty Bird with the Atlanta Falcons. He re-signed on Wednesday to play a role in the resurgent defense.
Per reports from Vaughn McClure and Adam Caplan of ESPN, O’Brien Schofield and the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a new one-year deal. Schofield will bring back much needed depth and leadership to a defense that has been a bit listless the first two games of the season.
In the beginning of the offseason, there was a massive question about where Schofield would fit in the rotation along the defensive line or at strong-side linebacker. That came off as the reason why the Falcons hadn’t re-signed him yet. Where was he going to play if they wanted to feature Vic Beasley as a strong-side linebacker in the base and Brooks Reed as the LEO?
That all changed when Reed got injured, and Beasley didn’t seem to have the ideal performance at strong-side linebacker through the first few games of the season. With Schofield now starting at strong-side linebacker, the Falcons have someone who understands the scheme and can perform it at an above average level while allowing Beasley to continue to develop as a pass rusher.
In the pass rush sets, expecting Schofield to play a massive role there would be unwise. Beasley, Freeney and Adrian Clayborn will still be the main men tasked with creating pressure. However, Schofield’s ability to come off the left side when Beasley is winded should allow for the Falcons to have some more depth in their nickel sets.
Schofield also brings an energy that seemed to have been missing during the first part of the season. He was one of the emotional leaders for the 2015 defense and every time he made a play, the rest of the defense seemed to rally around him. His energy and leadership should provide a spark for the defense to play much better than it has.
With the Falcons bringing back Schofield, expect for the defense to have a big more energy than it has to start the season. That energy along with competent play at strong-side linebacker makes his re-signing a move that could help spark the defense to play closer to their NFL-average talent level.