Sean Weatherspoon has gotten a lot of love this offseason. After a season that was a coming-out-party of sorts for the linebacker, he enters his third season with high expectations — Pro Bowl expectations.
The young linebacker was in the conversation for a Pro Bowl bid last season when his stats were among the league leaders at his position and another year of seasoning and a featured role in Mike Nolan's scheme has everyone talking about Weatherspoon as a breakout player on defense.
Weatherspoon said Wednesday making the Pro Bowl is among his personal goals and if he's in the discussion for the postseason honor, it'll mean good things for the performance of the entire defense.
"That's definitely one of my individual goals," he said. "I think if I play well enough to reach that goal, I think it'll benefit our defense and our team."
The LB ended last season with 115 tackles, four sacks and eight passes defensed, and in Nolan's defense, Weatherspoon should be able to pile on additional stats to his impressive tackles numbers. He'll likely be used as an occassional blitzer and his preseason play is evidence he's ready to take the next step.
During limited time in the 2012 preseason, Weatherspoon totaled a QB hit and a tackle for loss. Last season he led the Falcons with 14 tackles for loss and his ability to get into the opponent's backfield is key to leading the Falcons and their aggressive defense this season.
Personal goals aside, Weatherspoon said what the team wants to accomplish comes first. Everything else is secondary.
Obviously the team goal is the main goal and that's trying to win a championship," he said. "That's what we're trying to do. If I happen to make the Pro Bowl along the way, that'll be great, but I'm definitely working hard along the way to reach that goal."