As the Falcons wrapped up preparation for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, tight end Tony Gonzalez returned to practice. He was a limited participant on his toe injury.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been in practice all week and by all indications should be able to play on Sunday. Head coach Mike Smith did say that both players would be questionable, however he was glad to get Gonzalez back on the practice field.
“Tony was a limited participant in practice today, so he was able to get out here and do some limited work,” Smith said.
Smith continued by saying that Weatherspoon was limited as well on Friday, but able to complete “a pretty good workload.” However, Smith did say both players will be questionable for Sunday.
Here’s the catch though… Smith did tell us after practice that Weatherspoon would start, he just wouldn’t say where on the field. So, we went to the man himself and asked him.
“Jop(lo Bartu) at the Sam (strong side linebacker), Paul Worrilow in the middle, and myself at the Will (weakside linebacker),” Weatherspoon said.
This will be Weatherspoon’s first game back this season, since hurting his foot against the Rams back in week two. Weatherspoon is just looking forward to being on the game field again.
“I know I’m not in midseason form or anything,” Weatherspoon said. “I’ll be out there playing really hard and just playing with passion. So I’ll just go out there and help try to help in any way I can.”
Weatherspoon is looked at as being an emotional leader for this defense. However, the team has also relied on him to be their on-field leader to make sure players are lined up where they’re supposed to be on the field. That said, he believes the rookie linebackers Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow have done a great job picking up this defense.
“Whenever I’m sitting there and I’m in la-la land, Paul might help me go the right direction or Jop might help me get in the right line up,” Weatherspoon said.
This is all coming from the same player that admitted to being yelled at by defensive coordinator Mike Nolan for shouting out the defensive calls in meetings while he was injured. Nolan wouldn’t want him doing so, because he wanted the younger linebackers to learn those calls on their own. I guess both sides got what they wanted.
So, on Sunday we should probably expect to see both players. Then again, this season has gone anything but planned.