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Five Things We Learned: Aug. 21

1. Spoon's Healing Finger: Head coach Mike Smith said after practice Wednesday that linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been fully participating in practice and will fully participate in the game Saturday against the Titans. Smith said the injury was an "open dislocation on his finger" and added that the real concern in coming back from the injury was the laceration. He added that once the laceration healed up, which it has, it wasn't a big enough deal to affect Weatherspoon's play.

2. The Total Package: If the safety position is the glamour position in Mike Nolan's defense, the linebackers are the grunts, doing the dirty work against the run and the pass. However, could more blitzes be on the way this year from the linebacker position? We've seen quite a bit of blitzing through two games this preseason from the linebackers and third-year middle linebacker Akeem Dent said the linebackers want to be the total package and that includes a good dose of blitzing: "We do a lot with the back-end, with the safeties, as well as the linebackers in terms of covering these tight ends, covering the (running) backs and moving around a little bit, blitzing. We just are trying to be the total package as linebackers."

3. Calm and Collected Weatherspoon: Tony Gonzalez isn't the only player the Falcons are welcoming back this week. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, as mentioned above, will take the field for the first time after the injury. Weatherspoon said he's missed being out there and it's been lonely at times during the games since he couldn't be on the field: "It hasn't been a lot of fun. I find myself in the tunnel just thinking, thinking a little bit and just wishing I was out there. But I get a chance to go at it this week and I think it'll be fun to get back out there with the guys. The energy level will definitely be amped up."

Weatherspoon added that he'll be able to maintain his energy level since he's already learned that lesson. He said a few years back upon his return home to play the Texans he got a little too excited and lost his cool. Since then, he's kept things under wraps when necessary.

4. No Concern About Tony: There's no concern that Tony Gonzalez's absence will hurt this year's team and what it is capable of. As Smith said earlier this week, Gonzalez's 13 career Pro Bowls speak for themselves. Further, the future Hall-of-Famer has only missed two games in his career. As for the players, they've welcomed back their teammate and there's no animosity. Osi Umenyiora said Wednesday he hasn't thought twice about Gonzalez' extended time off: "I didn't think anything about it. That's Tony Gonzalez we're talking about, a Hall-of-Fame player. He came back and the first day he caught everything they threw at him. If you know anything about him, you know the type of work ethic he has."

5. High Praise For Spoon: With Weatherspoon returning to action this week, he was a topic of conversation all day.  Umenyiora said the team leader reminds him of one of his former teammates in New York, nine-year veteran Antonio Pierce. Pierce was considered one of the team leaders of New York's Super Bowl squad in 2006. Umenyiora said the two were very similar, smart players and Weatherspoon is a great teammate to be on the field with: "Spoon is awesome. He's a great guy to have back there. He calls things out before they happen. He's animated; he lets you know what's coming. ...He's outstanding to work with."

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