Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Unit-by-Unit analysis: The linebackers

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons reclaimed the NFC South title and became NFC champions for just the second time in franchise history.

The Falcons, calling themselves a Brotherhood, had a major breakthrough in Dan Quinn’s second season as head coach before collapsing in the Super Bowl LI in grand fashion against New England by blowing a 25-point lead.

The offense soared to new heights and the young and marauding defense made great strides over the course of the season.

We continue our unit-by-unit review of the 2016 team with the linebackers:



Who:  Starters – SLB – Vic Beasley. MLB – Deion Jones. WLB – Devondre Campbell. Backups – Inside – LaRoy Reynolds (UFA) and Paul Worrilow (UFA). Outside – *Sean Weatherspoon (UFA), *Tyler Starr, Josh Keyes(ERFA) and Philip Wheeler (UFA).

Contract/free agent situation: Reynolds, Weatherspoon, Worrilow and Wheeler are set to become unrestricted free agents.

What they did in season: Beasley emerged as an elite passer as he led the league in sacks with 15.5 sacks and was named All-Pro. Some of them did come in bunches against backup tackles, but he must be given credit for taking advantage of the situation. He listened to the lessons that defensive end Dwight Freeney tried to share and that also helped him. Jones, who had three interceptions, and returned two for touchdowns, is going to be a big-time play-maker. He also led the team in tackles with 106 tackles. Campbell has a great deal of promise. Weatherspoon was a valuable backup, while Worrilow, a former starter, has fallen out of favor and will likely leave during free agency.

What they did in postseason: With extra attention, Beasley did not record a sack in the playoffs. He nearly had a game-saving interception in the Super Bowl.

Comment: Look for the Falcons to try to upgrade the depth behind Beasley, Jones and Campbell.


Monday: The Quarterbacks

Tuesday: The running backs and Wide receivers

Wednesday: The tight ends at 10 a.m. and offensive line at 2 p.m.

Thursday: The defensive line at 10 a.m. and linebackers at 2 p.m.

Friday:  The defensive backs at 10 a.m. and special teams at 2 p.m.



Falcons focused on moving forward after Super Bowl collapse

With Saban's approval, Falcons hire Steve Sarkisian to replace Kyle Shanahan

Falcons' Quinn fires assistants Smith, Cox

Falcons promote Keith Carter to running backs coach

The Super Bowl collapse could stunt the young Falcons' growth

SUPER BOWL LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28 -- OVERTIME

Five things that change the outcome of the Falcons' Super Bowl loss

What quarterback Matt Ryan said after the Atlanta Falcons' collapse

What coach Dan Quinn said after the Super Bowl defeat

Super Bowl nothing but heartache for the Falcons

Championship near-missed in Atlanta sports history

A new low for Falcons, a new low for Atlanta

REPORT CARD: Falcons earn low marks in Super Bowl collapse


Falcons advance to Super Bowl and make it look easy

Ryan turns Collins' thief into found money

Falcons win a crowning moment for owner Arthur Blank

Falcons 44, Packers 21: What Aaron Rodgers said


5 things that changed the outcome in the Falcons' win

The ascendant Falcons make short of Seattle  -- Column by Mark Bradley

Falcons have been transformed into team Atlanta has waited for -- Column by Jeff Schultz

Falcons rock the Dome with a playoff victory -- By Steve Hummer

Falcons' Julio Jones hobbled, but gets best of Sherman

Falcons use 'spies' to corral Russell Wilson

Falcons' offensive line turns in strong game

Pereira: Falcons' Julio Jones scored on an illegal pick play


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.