When the Atlanta Falcons lost one of their best linebackers in Keith Brooking, it took them a while to find someone to replace him. Heading into 2013, the Falcons finally seem to have found their guy in linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who is finally ready to lead the way for the Falcons.
Drafted 19th overall in 2010, Weatherspoon didn’t exactly live up to the hype or expectations in his rookie year. Instead of being an explosive player maker and becoming a leader right away, Weatherspoon struggled to even play on the field and “dazzled” us with 42 tackles and one sack — not exactly the stats the Falcons had in mind when they drafted the linebacker.
In the last two seasons however, Weatherspoon flashed his potential to be an every-down player and in 2012, he showed the consistency in his play that has his teammates and coaches excited to see on full display come 2013. Weatherspoon compiled 115 tackles and four sacks in 2011, and followed that up with 95 tackles, three sacks, one fumble forced and one interception in 2012.
The linebacker unit for the Falcons should be very promising in 2013 with Weatherspoon as its clear leader. Next to him are linebackers Stephen Nicholas and Akeem Dent. With the perfect combination of youth and an experienced veteran, the Falcons will have three linebackers who are capable of doing some damage to opposing teams.
In 2012, Nicholas had a total of 97 tackles and one sack, while his counterpart Dent amassed 65 tackles. Although these stats may not be too spectacular, this is a promising unit that could help the Dirty Birds of Atlanta have a longer flight in 2013.
With Weatherspoon ready to assume his role as one of the leaders of this defense, the Falcons are bound to become a better unit in both passing and rushing defense.
In the beginning, people were ready to put the “bust” label on Weatherspoon after a disappointing rookie year; but instead of falling further down into the abyss, he rose to the challenge and will now lead the way for the Falcons to finish what they started.