The loss of Sean Weatherspoon for 2014 due to an Achilles injury suffered while recovering from a knee injury was a shock to fans and players alike.
It's a two-fold hit to the defense: First, the Falcons lose Weatherspoon's on-field production which, when healthy, is right on par with expectations for a former first-round pick; Second, the team loses the leadership side that Spoon offers.
Second-year linebacker Paul Worrilow has been embracing the latter part this offseason, and with Weatherspoon sidelined, it'll be even more important for him to step into that leadership role. In order to do that, Worrilow is expecting Weatherspoon to be a vital part of the process.
When players go on injured reserve, they sometimes become scarce around the locker room. Worrilow isn't expecting that to happen with Weatherspoon, and he's going to take full advantage of the veteran's presence.
"He's a tremendous leader and I absolutely expect that he's going to be around because that's just his character — a leadership kind of guy, a vocal guy," Worrilow said earlier this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio's "Late Hits" show with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian. "I fully expect him to be in the meeting rooms. He's going to be a guy I'm going to talk football with throughout the season.
"Fortunately for us, all through OTAs and the offseason, me and Joplo (Bartu) have taken the bulk of the reps with the ones, so I guess we're ahead of the game, if you want to think about it like that. It's unfortunate, but him and I are going to have to take up a leadership role being the two linebackers."