ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons fails to pull in this reception against Jordan Babineaux #26 and Colin McCarthy #52 of the Tennessee Titans at Georgia Dome on November 20, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The linebackers were by no means the strength of the defense in 2011, but they also were not a liability after Colin McCarthy replaced Barrett Ruud. Obviously McCarthy was the biggest story of the year, especially around here. He came in and provided a huge upgrade over Ruud. You have to love all of the stories you hear about his preparation. The future is bright for that kid.
Akeem Ayers did not end up being the dynamic playmaker we had hoped he would be before the season started, but he was a solid player who got better every week. They talked about his versatility when they drafted him. We did not get to see him do much rushing the passer this season. That was probably because they did not want to give him too much as a rookie. Look for them to do a lot more with him next season after a full offseason of work.
Will Witherspoon was the other starting linebacker. He was not very good. Hopefully they will be able to find a guy to replace him in the draft this year.
Grade the linebackers
A (13 votes)
B (119 votes)
C (83 votes)
D (5 votes)
F (2 votes)
222 total votes