Worrilow silver lining in preseason defeat

Jimmy Cribb/atlantafalcons.com

In the Bengals’ 34-10 preseason rout of the Falcons, there were few recognizable positives for the home team to take away from the loss. Atlanta took the early 3-0 lead on a 37-yard Matt Bryant field goal. The eight-play scoring drive was sparked by a 42-yard Harry Douglas reception that ended with the speed merchant violently stiff arming his way for extra yards. Douglas started in place of a resting Julio Jones, and helped Matt Ryan post a 98.8 passer rating in his three series of work.

Atlanta surrendered its early lead and Cincinnati dominated the remainder of the game, outscoring Atlanta 34-7.

“This is an evaluation,” explained coach Mike Smith following the game. “There are a bunch of disappointed guys in there [our locker room] that we didn’t win the football game, but we need to make sure we are given the opportunity to evaluate the players that can help us when we get to the regular season.”

In the following days Smith and his staff will dissect the film to prepare a game plan for this week, and also to evaluate which guys are going to make the final 53-man roster at the end of the preseason. One hopeful for surviving the final cuts is backup linebacker Paul Worrilow, who made a tremendous first impression with his teammates and coaching staff on Thursday.

Worrilow posted a game-high 12 tackles (10 solo), one pass-breakup on a key third-down play and a tackle for a loss. The undrafted free-agent rookie got valuable snaps at linebacker with starter Sean Weatherspoon sidelined with a dislocated finger. Worrilow also excelled during his work on special teams.

“He [Worrilow] had a really good sequence there,” said Smith after the game. “Paul has done a very nice job for us. He can play all three [linebacker] positions which is great for a rookie. He had an opportunity there in the red zone, had a pass break up, and had a couple of really nice tackles, and I think he did some really nice things on special teams as well.”

Worrilow was a walk-on at the University of Delaware where he ended up starting for four seasons, posting over 300 career tackles. Playing in the NFL has been a dream of the former Blue Hen and he has been all business since arriving in Atlanta.

“Just being a former walk-on and not getting any offers out of high school I have always sort of had this chip on my shoulder,” admitted Worrilow following the game. “This has always been a dream of mine and when I walked through the tunnel tonight it sunk in.”

Worrilow’s sure tackling helped bring down the Bengals explosive rookie Giovani Bernard in the open field.

“Bernard is very shifty,” said Worrilow. “We knew that going into the game after watching some of his film… I felt I saw the ball really well tonight and felt good getting off my blocks.”

Having a guy on the team with Bernard’s natural instincts could serve well against some of the read option attacks that gave the Falcons’ defense problems last year. With three preseason games to go, Worrilow will continue to get his opportunities.





Tags: , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply