Despite the promising and strong showing of Dominique Davis in last night’s preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Falcons backup quarterback position has emerged as a problem position so far this summer. Chris Redman has struggled mightily and John Parker Wilson has been largely a non-factor. While Davis has made his name and I believe has performed well enough in the preseason to merit this team keeping him as the third quarterback on the depth chart, he’s not quite ready to fill the role as Matt Ryan’s primary backup.
Davis is still a bit too raw. There are too many missed throws or reads for him to be trusted to fill in and keep the Falcons playoff hopes alive in the event of a Ryan injury. But Davis has shown enough upside that with more development, one could envision him down the road as Ryan’s primary backup. But in the meantime, the Falcons are in a position where it’s imperative they make a move.
Redman’s regression over the past two seasons has been stark. While he looked good in some of his spot starts in 2009 for an injured Ryan, it was the last time that has been the case. Without any reps in 2010, Redman got some opportunities late last season. But in the season finale against the Buccaneers, Redman played about half the game and looked very rusty. That seemed odd given that he had gotten extensive reps in each of the past two games prior to that to shake off any rust. It was the first sign that things were not looking optimistic.
The big names being discussed as possible trade bait are Colt McCoy and Tarvaris Jackson. While both would be definite upgrades over Redman, if I had to choose between one of them, I would think McCoy would be the better move for the Falcons. Mainly because Davis brings many of the same traits to the field that Jackson does, as well as the fact that Jackson has never taken an NFL snap in a game where Darrell Bevell was not calling plays for him. And it remains a question mark whether he can adapt to a non-Bevell-coached West Coast system. With McCoy having been coached by both Brian Daboll and Pat Shurmur, the hope is at least that he would be better able to adapt to a brand new system. It’s ideal to have a backup quarterback that believes he has a future as a starter. That has been one of the biggest knocks against Redman, who from his lacking desire to test himself on the open market in free agency, indicates that he has really no desire to start for an NFL team. Someone that envisions themselves starting will at least put in the work during the week to try and improve and will do their best to take advantage of any opportunity that comes along. That hasn’t happened with Redman for some time. And with a player like McCoy, that should change.
If the Falcons were to make a move for a player like McCoy, they would likely need to part ways with a late round pick. Because reports indicate there is a lot of interest in McCoy, it might drive up the price slightly. A fifth round pick might need to be moved to acquire his services. It’s not ideal, but I’d certainly happily forfeit next year’s fifth round pick to prevent Chris Redman from stepping on the field in a Falcon uniform again.