BIRDLAND – We’re going to have a Michael Vick free zone today. (I’m deleting all Vick related comments on the Falcons’ blog!)
Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon interviewed Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, chatted up former Big 12 competitor Trent Williams (Washington) and former UC Bearcat Mardy Gilyard (St. Louis) in his final installment from the rookie symposium.
Also, Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens (Philadelphia) is in the video singing around the piano.
After some travel delays, Weatherspoon finally made it home after flying into Houston last night and pronounced himself ready for training camp.
Weatherspoon and fifth round pick Kerry Meier are the only unsigned rookies for the Falcons. Negotiations for Weatherspoon’s contract will start in earnest when President Rich McKay returns from vacation. Not sure what the holdup is with Meier’s deal.
Weatherspoon’s contract should be a five-year deal, while Meier is looking at a four-year deal.
The Falcons coaching staff has been very strategic is planning Weatherspoon’s entry in the NFL. They’ve taught him both outside linebacker positions after calling him a weakside linebacker on draft day.
They don’t want to upset a quality veteran like Mike Peterson.
Also, they don’t want to stunt the growth of strongside linebacker Stephen Nicholas.
They even said that the weakside and strongside positions are interchangeable.
One thing is certain, Weatherspoon is going to get on the field. The general manager doesn’t call a draftee a “four down”
player if doesn’t expect to see him on the field.
Special teams is a given. He’ll be on most of those units.
Look for the coaching staff to ease Weatherspoon into the linebacking corps much like they did Curtis Lofton in 2008.
As a rookie, Lofton played on running downs and came out when they went to the nickel. Weatherspoon’s best chance to get on the field early might be in nickel. The Falcons struggled in pass coverage last season and Weatherspoon comes out of the Big 12 accomplished in dropping into pass coverage.
How do you all see the linebacking corps shaking out? With Tony Gilbert gone, who’s going to backup Lofton in the middle?