Q&A: Weatherspoon staying busy during lockout

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon  puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

LOCKOUT LAND — After signing his five-year, $15.7 million contract, Sean Weatherspoon, who was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, went out and won a starting spot on the Falcons’ defense as a rookie.

He was off to a good start when he suffered an ankle injury against New Orleans in the third game of the season. He came back in the fifth game against Cleveland and suffered a helmet hit to his knee that slowed him for the rest of the season.

After missing four games, he came back to play in the nickel defense and finished with 42 tackles and one sack.

Weatherspoon, after a recent seven-on-seven passing drill, chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his rookie season, his workouts in Philadelphia with former college teammate Jeremy Maclin and his plans for wrecking havoc next season.

Q: What did you all get out of today’s seven-on-seven drills?

Sean Weatherspoon receiving some coaching from defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder last season. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Sean Weatherspoon receiving some coaching from defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder last season. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

A: I think we just got familiar with what we were doing when we left. We just ran through some base stuff. We just did some touching up a little bit. I think we got some pretty good work in. We had all of the LBs here. I know coach (Brian) VanGorder would be happy with that.

Q: How did you all get all of the linebackers here?

A: We even had the youngster (rookie Akeem Dent) out here. I can’t call him a rookie because I’m still a rook until I finish out however many games they say it takes to not be a rookie anymore. He was out here and got some reps in too.

Q: For you, how difficult is it not communicating with the coaches?

A: Last year, we were out here at this time and we were getting it in. To be out here on your own is a lot different. I miss those guys. I do love being around my coaches. Hopefully they can get something done soon so that we can get back to our goal.

Q: Where you surprised with the draft at all?

A: I definitely think we  . . . He’s a great receiver who can stretch the field. He’s obviously a great athlete and I look forward to seeing him. I felt like we did a great job getting another linebacker. I think Akeem will come in and contribute. I know we look forward to getting him in. Mr. [Thomas] Dimitroff and [head coach Mike Smith] have done a good job of just putting it together.

Q: Have you seen that the other teams have been working out, too?

A: Yeah, I’ve been getting some flack on Twitter from some of the fans. They’ve been wondering when the Falcons are going to get their camp going. They would say, ‘the guys in New Orleans are getting their camp going. When are we going to get ours going?’ I’m pretty happy to get out here and show them that we are trying to get back to level that we want to reach.

Carolina running back Tyrell Sutton (22) is stopped by Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson (23) and Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)  Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/01/02/1628459/carolina-panthers-vs-atlanta.html#ixzz1MtoIwIpo

Carolina running back Tyrell Sutton (22) is stopped by Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson (23) and Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/01/02/1628459/carolina-panthers-vs-atlanta.html#ixzz1MtoIwIpo

I’ve been working out in Philadelphia with my boy Jeremy Maclin. We’ve been working out a Power Train in South Jersey and it’s been going well. I’ve been working with other linebackers in the league like Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou. It’s been going pretty well. I’m looking forward to getting back out here full time.

Q: Have you gotten over the playoff loss?

A: Yeah. You definitely have to move on. My hat goes off to Green Bay. They pulled off a miraculous playoff run. The quarterback played out of this world. So we have to take our hats off to those guys, but we are definitely over that. If we do this right, we’ll get a chance to see them again.

Q: What are your thoughts on Cam Newton coming to the NFC South?

A: It’s going to be a tough task. That guy is elusive and he can make a ton of plays. I look forward to going against him. Competitors always want to compete against the best. I think it will be pretty fun going against those guys.

Q: How did you exit interview go after the season?

A: It went well. Me and Coach [Glenn] Pires, we sat down and talked a little bit about how the season went and what he expects from me coming up these next couple of years. He just said that he wanted me to be flying around like I was at the beginning of the season. He told me that when I come back, just be ready to go. That’s something where I’m just trying to stay in shape and make sure that I come back at full speed.

Q: Did he give you some film study things to brush up on?

A: Definitely, I have every game that we played last year on tape. So I’ve been able to critique myself and critique the defense as well and see where I can get better.

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first quarter of an NFL football - Sunday December 5 (AP)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first quarter of an NFL football - Sunday December 5 (AP)

Q: Do you hope to move around a little bit more?

A: In college I didn’t do too much of that. When I got here, they moved me around and let me rush off the edge a little bit. I look forward to continuing that and furthering my game to the point where I can stand up on the outside and come off the edge on a few downs. I look forward to trying to be that kind of player.

Q: What did you think of Jacksonville trading up to get former teammate Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert?

A: I think he can come in and compete with David [Garrard] right away. I won’t say he’ll come in and win the job right away, but I think he’ll be fine. I went up to New York to the pre-draft party and I got to see him. He’s going to be fine.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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19 comments Add your comment

Mike from London

May 20th, 2011
9:11 am

First from London?

David

May 20th, 2011
9:16 am

Second from Blackpool? The UK Falcons fans are onto it this afternoon ;)

AngryFalcon

May 20th, 2011
9:24 am

No update on if he’s 100% recovered?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 20th, 2011
9:36 am

AngryFalcon — He’s been recovered. He finished out the season.

Drew

May 20th, 2011
9:54 am

D.- He did finish out the season, but he wasn’t the same player pre-injury. He certainly didn’t look 100% recovered. Hopefully the reason he tailed off was due to the fact he was still playing hurt.

Bloke

May 20th, 2011
10:03 am

Third from Liverpool….just kidding, I’m in Flowery Branch

Rikus

May 20th, 2011
10:55 am

Wow, not a lot of comments so far… where has all the Weatherspoon love gone? Have you guys already forgotten about this pre-draft chant:

Spooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon!!!

where are the true fans

May 20th, 2011
11:53 am

Spooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon!!!, will play better this season and with(hopefully) more linebackers on the team we will see an improvement with the second level of the defense even if someone gets hurt

AngryFalcon

May 20th, 2011
12:55 pm

Yeah, let’s hope that he’s got that speed back. If he was playing 100% at the end of the season, I am even more worried about this D.

C’mon Spoon, im looking for an impact year.

eM

May 20th, 2011
1:11 pm

A: We even had the youngster (rookie Akeem Dent) out here. I can’t call him a rookie because I’m still a rook until I finish out however many games they say it takes to not be a rookie anymore. He was out here and got some reps in too.

I like what he said. Way to go Spoon. With all the egos you see coming out of college, it’s nice to hear a humble voice.

BigGA_BirdDawgFan

May 20th, 2011
2:50 pm

I think the limited comments may be due to everyone knowing not much new is going to be posted until the billionaires and millionaires work out thier issues. But we fans are all looking forward to seeing everyone back on the field. I am glad to see that various groups on the team are getting together and trying to be as prepared for the season (and hopefully for some pre-season,) as possible.

Maurice

May 20th, 2011
3:28 pm

Basically. I just read an essay that one of the owners lawyers put on ESPN that the NLFPA stands to gain more from the lockout and it’s resolution than the owners and the players. John Mara also states the owners never meant to lockout the players. If they had no intention to, why did they appeal the lifting of the lockout in superior court? As bad as the players looked earlier in the lockout, the owners appealing and getting the lockout reinstated makes them look like greedy buffoons. So what’s the point? Give the players what they want. They play the game. You sign the checks. I see no reason to pay a college player $100 million dollars for being a first round number 1 pick in the draft. All first round players should get less than the starters in the league. No way a Cam Newton should come in, unproven, and make more than Drew Brees. I don’t even like Drew, but I know what to expect from him on day one.

Paddy O

May 21st, 2011
12:06 am

IMO the contract is between the player & team – NO rookie slot wage scale. However, with the short standard NFL career, i would trade UFA after four years for 250 or 500 million to the owners for expenses. I can NOT call Spoon 100% healed his last few games – he looked very tentative and appeared to favor the knee, but this is typical of ajc pro journalism (fuzzy thinking).

sheezy

May 21st, 2011
3:17 pm

Spoon needs to get better. However, he needs to start wrapping up his opponents when tackling. He plays hard but he needs to wrap up.

torgo

May 22nd, 2011
9:56 am

It’s good to hear that *all* of the linebackers are there. Training camp is probably Thunderdome for Robert James and Spencer Adkins: two Dimitroff late rounders go in, only one comes out.

Jborodawg

May 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

DOL, you didn’t say where the seven-on-seven passing drill took place…nor who ran it. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Not many comments because of the lockout and us fans putting the NFL on the back burner, I reckon. The whole situation is just disgusting.

DR. FALCON

May 24th, 2011
12:57 am

THE QUESTION WAS ASKED BY NFL LEGEND GIL BRANDT ON SIRIUS NFL RADIO: IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE PERSON FROMTHE FALCON’S FRANCHISE’S HISTORY TO HAVE A STATUE ERECTED, WHO WOULD IT BE? MY RESPONSE: REX-OWNER RANKIN SMITH! I SCREWED THAT ONE UP, HUH? I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE, MY FELLOW FALCON FANS! I SHOULD HAVE SAID, EITHER: JESSIE TUGGLE, STEVE BARTKOWSKI, GERALD RIGGS, TOMMY NOBIS, OR DEION SANDERS! I BUTCHERED IT! MY BAD! ESPECIALLY, TUGGLE, WHO COMES FROM MY PARENT’S HOMETOWN OF GRIFFIN, GA.!

DR. FALCON

May 24th, 2011
12:58 am

I WILL COME STRONG NEXT TIME ON SIRIUS NFL RADIO! I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING! I BLAME THE OWNERS, ANYWAY FOR THIS LOCKOUT! WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO RANKIN SMITH SR., (R.I.P.) A STATUE SHOULD BE OF ONE OUR FORMER PLAYERS!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 24th, 2011
8:27 am

DR. FALCON — Thanks for stopping by. I usually hear you on Sirius. Missed you this time.