Posted: 9:26 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

A bad early loss: Weatherspoon out for the season 

By Mark Bradley

They aren't celebrating in Flowery Branch tonight. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

They aren’t celebrating in Flowery Branch tonight. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

You might recall that Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus just rated the Atlanta Falcons’ roster the third-worst in the NFL. You might also remember that Monson labeled only three Falcons defenders as “above average.” Now comes word that one of those three — linebacker Sean Weatherspoon — ruptured his Achilles tendon and has been lost for the 2014 season.

Falcons coach Mike Smith announced Tuesday night that Weatherspoon was running “with our medical staff” during one of those essential OTA’s — an organized team activity, which is a fancy term for a post-Memorial-Day-but-pre-Fourth-of-July practice — when the injury occurred. (Good thing he wasn’t trying to work out unattended, huh?) This means that the team’s best linebacker won’t be available for what stands to be the first year the Falcons switch to the 3-4 — which deploys four linebackers — as their base defense.

(The Falcons are still quibbling over whether they’ll be a 4-3 with 3-4 capabilities, but that’s mostly semantics. The Falcons love to quibble over semantics.)

There’s no way to paint a smiley face here, folks. This is a bad loss. Matt Ryan is still the most valuable Falcon and Julio Jones remains No. 2, but Weatherspoon surely ranked among the five most important Birds. No, he’s not an All-Pro, but that’s kind of the point. The Falcons don’t have any All-Pros on defense, and the closest thing they had to one won’t play a down in what stands to be a rather significant season. Whoa, Nellie.

73 comments
BrownianMotion
BrownianMotion

with another bad season, arthur will clean house--he's had enough

GeorgiaBugman
GeorgiaBugman

Spoon hasn't completed an entire season so far in his career. This is nothing new and should have been planned for.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Until Falcons fix this defense will never have a chance in the NFC.


Every body is excluding the Panthers in the NFC South but will have the top 5 defense in the NFL.


Defense wins Championships.


The Panther will be the best team in the NFC South.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EricEllis
EricEllis

Look, things haven't gone well for this team basically since the NFC Championship melt down against the Niners.  There is no disputing that.  I am, however, sick and tired of all the doomsayers that predictably come streaming from beneath the rafters to run down any and every person and decision that this team makes or has made since the Dimitroff era began.  This is a Falcons team that for 40+ years NEVER had back to back winning seasons until the current regime showed up.  Its so easy to forget that before Dimitroff, 4-12 used to be the norm around here, not an aberration.  To say stupid things like Dimitroff is the worst GM in the NFL just makes you look like an idiot when he clearly has taken one of the worst franchises in league history and made them yearly playoff contenders with all of his "horrible" moves.  Sure last year was a disaster and he has made plenty of mistakes, but overall Dimitroff's body of work stands for itself.  I'd much rather go to the playoffs every year and lose than only go once every 7-8 years and still lose...

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

Please Please tell me that this is not the beginning of another injury riddled year......... 

zuzu331
zuzu331

Why has no one mentioned Worrilow? He played Outstanding last season,one of the few bright spots. Bartu did fine also. While I hated the fact we had two undrafted rookies for LBs last season,now we have two very solid LBs with invaluable game experience to call on. Its highly debatable that Weatherspoon ever had the kind of impact Bradley is talking about. Its a hit,no doubt,but the sky ISNT falling. Time for someone else to step up and shine..

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

Time for a new strength and conditioning coach?

JaySly
JaySly

hopefully new orleans and carolina suck this year so atl can win 9 games and make the playoffs

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

Just looked at his stats.  He had 1 season (2011-his 2nd year) where he played in every game and made a significant contribution.  And calling it significant might be pushing it.  

He's had 8 sacks, 2 INTs and 1 Forced Fumble in 47 regular season games.


Can losing this really be considered a devastating blow?  Falcons got as much from undrafted FA Joplo Bartu last season.


Move on, nothing to see here.

kerryb
kerryb

We have seen the last of Spoon.  The Falcons will not make a long term investment in an oft injured player.

BrownianMotion
BrownianMotion

not a big deal to lose a player who has never made a big play in a big game---ATL will be lucky to win  8 games next year with that roster

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

Late round picks and undrafted LBs DO make NFL rosters and DO make starting lineups, so losing Spoon is not the end of the world. My cousin was undrafted and by year 3 (2013) calling defensive signals for an NFC team known for great LB play. He's by no means a superstar and we don't need a superstar LB either (would be nice though). Point is, Spoon hasn't contributed much, there are some young LBs looking to making an impact. I would be willing to bet at least one  newbie shows up this season for the Falcons.

doggoneit
doggoneit

Sam Baker will be next. It wouldn't be the Falcons without Baker being lost for the season!

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Change the rules and allow players to use handguns and other "stationary" defensive weapons.  'Spoon' could man the middle in a wheelchair with a fully loaded AK47.  Just like old times.  Better still, promote Gun Day one Sunday a year and let the fans decide who wins.  Oh ... were we being serious about play games?  Sorry.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Dear Mr. Bradlet sir, please disabuse herself of the notion the Falcons were going to do anything special in 2014. They weren't, they still aren't, no big change, no big deal.


So we had a fun year-2-3-4 whatever pretending the Falcons were establishing themselves as a top echelon NFL team. That was total horse schnoggle foisted on fan idiots by homer boneheads like you. Please drop down on your bony knees in one of those ill fitting Goodwill looking suits of clothes you wear and ask forgiveness for teasing/leading on a buncha gullible goober success starved Atlanta fans. You're a bad person. It's like telling an old man a cute 30 something woman wants to get naked w him. You know she isn't, but you know he'll totally fall for it. Atlanta pro sports teams fans the same level of stupidly gullible hopefulness. 


Teasing them is cruel. Stop it.

NotAGeorgiaRedNeck
NotAGeorgiaRedNeck

When you don't have much to begin with, his loss is devastating.

midtowncowboy
midtowncowboy

Too much muscle, too little nutrition.  Bust

jimbob22
jimbob22

Maybe it was my imagination, but I always thought Curtis Lofton was pretty decent.

UGA76
UGA76

This was expected.  Go back and take a look at what happens to injury plagued players like Weatherspoon and Sam Baker.  They continue to be injury prone.  Fantasy Football Dimitroff needs to be gone.  I said it before the draft and I said it again after the draft, the mess that FFD has made would require a very good GM 2 years to fix. 


Going into the offseason, Atlanta needed OL and pass rush help.  Just cut/paste those articles because we will need the exact same things again next year after Baker goes down any minute now. 

gfw
gfw

It's a blow, of course, as most of the possible replacements are untested.  The reason it isn't a "devastating" blow is that SW simply isn't good enough to make it one.  He's a good player, above NFL-average sometimes, sometimes just NFL-average (I've noticed, for example, that on sweeps and screens opposing guards don't seem to have any trouble with him). 
 

BTW...he ruptured his Achilles tendon simply by running?  Huh?

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

For this to be a loss, you're saying that you actually expected him to play?

Nothing really changed.  He didn't play last year.  He wasn't practicing.  And he's still not playing...

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

NO BIG DEAL HERE, I think they knew something we did not about Spoon after drafting all the LBs.  If the safety and DE play improve this will be a non issue.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

he wont be missed! Heck when was the last time he played a full year?

PeteMTL
PeteMTL

Looks like 7-9. Bunch of empty seats by week 12  ( Falcons are home only 3 times until Nov 23rd and will be out of it by then ). Arthur ? How much for those PSL's again ?

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Another BAD decision in the the draft, this guy has barely played to his potential, and the SPOON Move is so annoying.

Bad for the Falcon's but when are we going to get a solid GM ? 

Heck before the draft they hire a new guy to come in and help with the decisions on who to draft ?  WHY ?  

Seems to me if a GM knew how to build a team, and judge the talent, they wouldn't bring in otherfolks to help him decide ?


I don't have much faith in the Falcon's and especially the QB, OR the very OLD Running back.



DoubleEE
DoubleEE

A blow but I'm not sure it is a knockout hit. 'Spoon has only played one full year ('01) since he was drafted.

Sadly,S.W. has turned out to be very injury prone.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Seattle won the Super Bowl with a 4-3 defense,

Denver won the AFC with a 4-3 defense,

Falcons should do the same.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Tipical Flacons. 


I ben tellin U all Witherspoon is a fist round bust cuz he is alwyas injruy prone. This all is Dummytroffs falt. If I were Author Blanks I wuld fire Dummytroff rite now. No way this team makes it 2 the Superbowel in the next 100 years

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

With this news in mind, I have a hard time finding more than 7 or 8 wins on the Falcons' schedule this year. It was already an unbalanced roster, and now the best player on a weak defense is done for the season. Unless Lowery proves to be a major upgrade over DeCoud (very possible) and several of the rookies deliver surprise performances (far less likely), this defense could be league-worst. We haven't had a disruptive, every-down playmaker on that side of the ball in years, since Abraham was in his prime.

On a somewhat related note, what an awful year for sports teams in this state on the injury front. Julio Jones, Aaron Murray, Keith Marshall, Al Horford, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Sean Weatherspoon...how many more star players are we going to see suffer season-ending injuries?

JLTee
JLTee

Boy Khalil Mack would have looked good in a Falcons uniform right about now...#wehavenoplaymakersondefense

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Mark you frustrate me to death. 

People see how good you are, then you turn around and confuse

us naming the Ga bulldogs as the greatest team on the planet.

Yes , you are right on about the Falcon defense, but just let you 

talk about Ga and you turn into a cheerleader, just like the rest of them.

I know you're good, but nobody else will know it if you don't stop 

sucking up to Ga. 

I know you don't even like them.  You're a KY graduate!

Does the state really need another cheerleader?

We haven't won a damn thing!. 

So quit dammit.    

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

@EricEllis  Watch the top 100 players elected by players in the NFL and tell me how many Falcons will be selected ? Only 1player and that's Julio Jones.


Enough said about the famous so call genius TD.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I think youv've been sniffin' Dimitroff's jocks while Arthur sniffs MATT Ryan's! Just sayin'

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

He sucks and you suck too for supporting "5 for 1" Dimitroff

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Worrilow was fantastic - loved him since the preseason last year. He is what is good about football. Need more like him. No thanks to Dimitroff.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

@Born2Buzz What in the hell do we have to move on to?

We have no back ups that can be effective. 

You can't win with smoke and mirrows. 

You have to have some players!

Sounds like Tech advise. 

Now I know the season has gone. 

A Tech guy has spoken.   

DawgNole
DawgNole

@UGA76

And we needed the same damn things a year ago, when TD again failed to restock appropriately. The result? 4-12!

Mudcatjoe
Mudcatjoe

@UGA76  Typical uneducated UGA fan!  Dimitroff is oe of the best young GM's in the NFL.  Thank god we have him!!

Falcons73
Falcons73

The same Dimitroff that has led the Falcons to a 60-36 record over 6 seasons, 5 straight winning seasons, 4 playoff appearances, & an NFC Championship game in 2012, & 2 # 1 seeds...he really sucks.

DawgWhisperer
DawgWhisperer

@WhiskeyBreath   Dear "Frustrated": 

If you don't like reading the AJC, then simply google Birmingham Newspaper or virtually any Alabama newspaper to read all the pie in the sky news about Saban and Bammer. You've mistakenly navigated into a state of Georgia newspaper and whatever positive news you read about UGA you will likely frown upon. Good riddance!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Falcons73

And how has that translated to POSTSEASON success? You know, the PLAYOFFS, when the games really matter!

How's that again?

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

@DawgWhisperer I not going anywhere. I will be here when you are long gone.

The media in Alabama does just the opposite.

They are constantly asking what is wrong with Bama and Auburn?

Been like that forever. The state of Ga declares itself champions

(pick a sport), the season starts, and every team crashes and burns. 

Alabama media loves it's teams, but doesn't see it's role as being 

a cheerleader. Maybe that is why Bama and Auburn win championships. 

EricEllis
EricEllis

@DawgNole @Falcons73


Uh, you have to get there consistently to hope to have any success.  Remind me again of how great it was going 10 years between playoff appearances again, will ya?