It’s dangerous to read tea leaves from a single day of training camp, as we’re all aware, but some tea leaves are begging to be read. Paul Worrilow getting time as a weakside linebacker is one of those.
Moved Worrilow over to Will today. "Typical Paul, jumps right in," Quinn says of Worrilow's reaction.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) July 31, 2016
Inside of that typical positive Dan Quinn talk is the possibility, however remote, that this could be a permanent move. If Deion Jones is truly going to start in the middle—and I believe he will—then the Falcons probably do not truly want Worrilow moldering on the bench as his backup. He may still get some time there, but there’s a clearer path to playing time on the weakside, where De’Vondre Campbell, (perhaps) Philip Wheeler, and Sean Weatherspoon are the most likely candidates.
It would be somewhat of an intriguing move, albeit not one that would be wildly popular. Worrilow has always been a quality athlete, but that hasn’t always shown up on the tape, particularly in coverage situations. Moving him to the weakside wouldn’t mean he would have less in the way of coverage responsibilities, but he’d be more frequently pursuing the play instead of needing to keep the play in front of him, and he may be better off in that role over the long haul, especially because he can surprise you with his speed and burst when he’s moving in a relatively straight line. Again, though, coverage is the primary issue most fans and analysts have with Worrilow’s play, and he’s not suddenly going to be doing less of that just because he makes the move.
Ideally, in our minds, Worrilow would settle into a sort of super-reserve role where he’s asked to play special teams and pitch in at all three linebacker spots as necessary, and some time at WLB might be happening with that in mind. I’ve long felt he could thrive when he’s asked to cover less and do more work around the line of scrimmage, and when the team isn’t asking him to play every snap in every game, and if you’re asking for my honest guess about what this move means, it would be a precursor to exactly that.
We’ll see if it happens, or if we’re looking at the beginning of a new chapter for Paul Worrilow, starting linebacker.