Two long-time Atlanta Falcons veteran linebackers are slated for free agency, and they reportedly have different plans for where they end up. The fan favorite Sean Weatherspoon has only stayed healthy in one out of his seven seasons, and ruptured his Achilles in early October despite sharing snaps. His speed isn’t quite there anymore, but he had some positive plays when healthy.
Paul Worrilow has stayed reasonably healthy, and despite being two years younger, may be even slower. He’s been a good contributor on special teams, but maxed out in his rookie year when he displaced an awful Akeem Dent. He’s frequently been the biggest liability on the defense.
What are they hoping for this offseason? According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Weatherspoon wants to return to the team in a backup role.
“I want to be here,” Weatherspoon said. “Let that be known. . . . I think the young guys are really ascending and you sprinkle in some veteran guys who can continue to help and play, too. My focus is getting back to that point where I can go out there and be me. ”
Weatherspoon would be limited to a smaller share of snaps deeper in the rotation, especially with Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell the unquestioned starters in the team’s passing defense. It might help Weatherspoon stay healthy, but with his history he can’t expect a starting spot. In fact, depending on his rehab, it may be a long time if Worrilow gets another deal.
Worrilow seems ready to be disappointed in free agency.
He played mostly on special teams, but will look to land a full-time job on the open market. “I don’t know what is ahead for myself,” Worrilow said. . . . “I know I can go and play good ball,” Worrilow said. “Whether that’s here or somewhere else. I liked my role this year. I loved being in that linebacker room with them.”
I wish him the best, but Worrilow is still a pretty bad defensive player regardless of scheme, responsibility, or experience. He may be one of the slowest linebackers in the league, and can’t make up for it with big hits.
The article states Worrilow could start for multiple teams, but I remain pretty skeptical. Maybe he could reunite with Mike Smith in Tampa, but I don’t think he starts on that defense or anywhere else. He will probably be stuck in a reserve spot somewhere, similar to Weatherspoon.