At the perfect time, help is arriving for the Falcons’ beleaguered linebackers

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

As the Atlanta Falcons prepare for the second and final game of their Western road trip, head coach Dan Quinn knows they’ll have their hands full with the Seattle Seahawks – his former team – and that the task would be a little easier with a healthy linebacking corps.

After several weeks of banged-up linebackers sitting out, it appears the Falcons will have some semblance of that.

According to, linebackers De’Vondre Campbell, Deion Jones and Paul Worrilow all returned to practice after missing at least one game each with injuries. Campbell and Jones were sidelined by ankle injuries that occurred in Weeks 2 and 4, respectively, and Worrilow is returning from a groin injury that required surgery in September.

“Now we get the real test where we take them through three days of practice and see how they respond,” Quinn told “Attitude right, mind right is there. If they’re available, we’ll certainly use them. We won’t really know all the way until Saturday.”

(Also read: Why the 4-1 Falcons are better than last year’s 5-0 squad)

We haven’t seen much of Campbell, who was drafted in the fourth round out of the University of Minnesota in this year’s draft. In his debut against Tampa Bay in Week 1 – the only regular-season NFL game in which he’s played so far – Campbell had four tackles. If he is back to full-speed and can be a major contributor on the field this Sunday, that’ll be huge for Atlanta’s defense.

Jones, on the other hand, was really starting to become a big factor before his injury. In the first four games of the season, the second-round draft pick already had 30 tackles and one really big interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the Falcons’ Week 3 win over the New Orleans Saints. He’s still listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but an report suggests he’s moving well and is expected to play.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind about Sunday’s game: the Pacific Northwest is expecting a major storm event this weekend. Sunday’s weather is expected to be chilly, rainy and very windy, which could really complicate the passing game for both teams.

What does this mean for Atlanta’s defense? They’re likely to see shorter passes, which means the linebackers will be forced to make plays, especially on Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham. If the banged-up linebacking corps is up to the task, the Falcons’ defense might have another big day.

Back to home page