The Falcons are going to linebacker Thomas Howard, per Jason La Canfora. They've also cut ties with linebacker Jamar Chaney, who didn't do a whole hell of a lot while he was here, and signed safety Sean Baker to the practice squad:
The Falcons have signed LB Thomas Howard, waived LB Jamar Chaney and signed S Sean Baker to practice squad #ATLvsAZ— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) October 22, 2013
The Falcons are signing veteran LB Thomas Howard— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 22, 2013
The 30-year-old Howard has played seven seasons in the NFL, most recently a year ago for the Bengals. After being a 15 game starter for the Bengals in 2011 and piling up 99 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles, he only played in one game a year ago thanks to a knee injury landed him on injured reserve. For his career, he has 492 tackles, six sacks and seven interceptions. Before the injury, at least, he was the epitome of a solid starting linebacker with some run-stopping chops.
The Howard signing is a sure sign that one of Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas are going to miss multiple weeks, if not both. My money's on Nicholas, since he looked to be the most banged up. Howard will come in to provide veteran depth for a team just ravaged by injuries to linebackers, and if he's healthy enough and gets up to speed, he may wind up grabbing a spot start.
Barring an unexpected return from Dent, it looks like Paul Worrilow, Omar Gaither and Joplo Bartu yet again for the Falcons against the Cardinals. It's a good thing the young guys are growing into their roles, because Howard isn't likely to be ready for serious game action for a week. The linebackers still won't be a strength for the Falcons this week.
As for Chaney, I was a little excited when they signed him, but he couldn't get on the field in a meaningful way for the Falcons. Howard will step in and hopefully do a bit more. Baker is a baller from Ball State who will be around in case of an injury at safety.