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Weatherspoon’s speed, tackling and pass coverage skills should further bolster a defense that ranks second in interceptions, second in third-down percentage, seventh against the run and eighth in scoring.

Atlanta needs to improve its pass rush and ball pressure as the defense ranks 18th in sacks and fumble recoveries.

Weatherspoon had 26 solo tackles, a 9-yard sack and one pass breakup while starting the first four games, but his presence away from ball accounts for more than statistics as opponents often have to find another point of attack.

“I want to do my part,” Weatherspoon said. “I want to make plays and have fun out there. Sitting on the sidelines is not fun. It’s not the same when you wish you could be out there.”