According to reports, Atlanta Falcons‘ linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will miss the 2014 season after tearing his Achilles tendon during Tuesday’s practice. This is unfortunate for the Dirty Birds as he was looking to bounce back this year after only playing in seven games last season.
Since entering the NFL as the No. 19 overall pick in 2010 by way of the Missouri Tigers, Weaterspoon has racked up 290 combined tackles, eight sacks, 15 passes defended, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a defensive touchdown.
It’s never good to see a player go down like that, but this is good news for the New Orleans Saints. When healthy, Weatherspoon is a disruptive force on the Falcons’ defense. His absence should make it easier for the Black and Gold to find more production down the middle of the field when the NFC South rivals battle it out twice this season.
With training camp approaching, we could see a five-way battle between Joplo Bartu, Akeem Dent and rookies Yawin Smallwood, Prince Shembo and Marquis Spruill (all three selected by Atlanta in the 2014 NFL Draft) to take over the starting role. Don’t be surprised if the Dirty Birds make former Saints’ ILB Jonathan Vilma an offer; he is listed as the top free agent inside linebacker out there. However, I don’t see him playing for a team that he has despised over the years.
The season is just a few months away, so Atlanta will need to try and overcome this setback to their defense. It will be interesting to see how Mike Smith and the Falcons’ organization approach the situation.