ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that Atlanta Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow is expected to miss roughly a month of time due to surgery that he is scheduled to undergo on his groin on Thursday.
To deal with the loss, McClure reports that there is a possibility that the Falcons could opt to place Worrilow on injured reserve. Modified league rules allow that teams can bring a single player back from injured reserve after six weeks without having to designate it as such before hand.
If the Falcons go that route, it could free up a roster spot for linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who agreed to terms with the team officially earlier today.
Worrilow had played predominantly on special teams in the first two games of the 2016 season, having lost his grip on a starting position this summer due to the team’s selection of Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell in the 2016 draft.
After three seasons in which Worrilow started 42 games predominantly at middle linebacker, he was moved to weak-side linebacker this past summer and wound up losing the starting competition to Campbell. This past week with an injured Campbell out of the lineup with an ankle injury, Sean Weatherspoon started as his replacement on the weak side.
Schofield, 29, played for the Falcons last season, splitting time at defensive end and strong-side linebacker. Per McClure, he is expected to play the latter role as he did down the stretch in 2015. While starting 10 of 16 games, Schofield finished last season with 28 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. He also added two tackles on special teams.
Schofield could potentially push for playing time as the team’s starting strong-side linebacker where Vic Beasley is technically atop the depth chart, but has been playing significantly less in that role than as a defensive end in the team’s nickel sub-package. Instead the Falcons have played Philip Wheeler predominantly as their main strong-side linebacker in the base defense. Wheeler also doubles as a reserve at weak-side linebacker, potentially lessening the absence of Worrilow should he be sent to injured reserve.
Whether or not the Falcons intended to re-sign Schofield was a hot topic throughout the offseason, with early indications that the team was prepared to move on from the free agent. However the team never completely ruled out re-signing the sixth-year veteran.