FLOWERY BRANCH–With Sean Weatherspoon out of Sunday’s game against Dallas with an ankle injury, second-year linebacker Akeem Dent and veteran Mike Peterson will get more action, Falcons head coach Mike Smith said Thursday.
“I want to be as transparent as I can be,” Smith said. “We’ve ruled out two players for the game this week. Sean Weatherspoon will not play this week. Nor will Kevin Cone. Those are the two guys that we made a determination on. They are not going to be available for this week’s game.”
Dent, the team’s middle linebacker in the base attack, played some outside linebacker against Oakland on Oct. 14 when Stephen Nicholas was slowed by an ankle injury.
“It’s no different for me,” Dent said. “I always watch Sean when he’s in there. I’m getting mental reps if I’m not in the game or in practice.”
Dent will start in the nickel package, which the Falcons used on a majority of their defensive snap under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. When they used their 4-3 base defense, Peterson will play Weatherspoon’s outside linebacker spot.
Weatherspoon, who is being treated for a low right ankle sprain, did not practice Thursday. He was injured on a tackle attempt against Eagles running back LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter of Atlanta’s 30-17 victory.
He walked through the locker room carrying a sandwich, but didn’t speak to the media.
Falcons guard Garrett Reynolds (back) and wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin) also sat out practice Thursday.
Falcons wide receivers Harry Douglas (knee/ankle) and Roddy White (back) fully participated in practice after being limited on Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee), kicker Matt Bryant (back) and wide receivers Drew Davis (hamstring) were limited on Thursday.
For Dallas, wide receiver Dez Bryant (hip) and running back DeMarco Murray (foot) did not practice.
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