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Reactions to Falcons-Bengals (Offense)

August 9th, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

An unimpressive debut from Dominique Davis highlights last night’s game

Preseason is all about individual evaluation, and I’m doing some of my own, position-by-position. I re-watched the Falcons loss to the Bengals again this morning, and took copious notes. And you will now see my copious write-up of what I took away from the offensive players. I will try and mention every player that played (and a few that did not), and give an assessment on where some of the position battles might lie with one preseason game down.

It’s the first preseason game, and I’m going to try not to overreact to the good performances, nor the bad ones. Several players that were unimpressive will have up to three more chances to reverse that, and certainly the opposite is true as well. Thus why I add the question mark after the conclusions I made since they are very loose ones. Nothing is concluded as of yet.

Quarterback

What I Saw: Matt Ryan was near-perfect, managing the game on his three offensive series. Seemingly his only mistake (barely so) being a rushed throw that was too high for Harry Douglas where Geno Atkins was in his face. Dominique Davis got the brunt of the work after that and started slow. Davis’ footwork and mechanics were iffy at times and his accuracy was off too often in this game. He made a couple of plays with his legs. He was able to get into a rhythm on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. But his only really good throws were mainly checkdowns and throws to his running backs. He struggled connecting with his receivers on downfield throws. He didn’t have great protection either. Renfree didn’t get a lot of work, making a nice throw on a rollout and having a pair of drops later. Seth Doege did not play.

Conclusion?: Overall, Davis didn’t do much to inspire a ton of confidence with his ability to handle the No. 2 spot, but Renfree didn’t get enough action to push him. How this position battle plays out will get an Act 2 next week as we’ll just have to wait and see if Davis improves.

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Bengals take down Falcons in opener

August 9th, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Davis gets chased by a Bengals defender

The Falcons continued their preseason struggles of recent seasons with a 34-10 loss to Cincinnati Bengals in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons held a 3-0 lead until the reserves stepped into the game late in the first quarter. But the backups struggled to move the ball and gave up too many big plays to allow the Bengals to win big.

Matt Ryan led the way with a solid performance, completing 6 of 9 passes for 89 yards before he was pulled in the first quarter after three series. Dominique Davis did the brunt of the remaining work and got off to a slow start. But he finished fairly well and had 8 of 19 completions for 78 yards with a touchdown and interception. Sean Renfree mopped up, completing 2 of 4 passes for 20 yards. On the ground, Steven Jackson kicked things off with 5 carries for 8 yards. Ronnie Wingo led rushers with 29 yards on 4 carries late in the game. Jason Snelling added 23 yards on 5 carries himself. He also led receivers with 3 catches for 21 yards and the Falcons’ lone offensive touchdown. Drew Davis, Darius Johnson, and Chase Coffman each had a pair of receptions for 53, 27, and 12 yards respectively. Harry Douglas had one catch for 42 yards to highlight the rest of the receivers in a game that saw minimal work from Roddy White and none from Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Matt Bryant connected on his lone field goal try from 37 yards. Matt Bosher got a lot of usage due to the offensive struggles, punting 7 times for an average of 47.9 yards with 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Harry Douglas had one punt return for 11 yards, and Robert Alford returned one for 2 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers, Josh Vaughan, and Levine Toilolo each returned one kickoff for 24, 21, and 12 yards respectively. Collectively, the Falcons offense gained 268 total yards and converted a modest 5 of 13 tries (33%) on third down.

Defensively, the Falcons gave up 434 total yards and allowed the Bengals to convert 9 of 16 third downs (56%). The Bengals chewed up the Falcons with 230 yards on the ground thanks in part to a team-leading 64 from quarterback Josh Johnson. But they also gave up three plays of 20-plus yards in the air as well. Paul Worrilow stood out with a team-leading 11 stops on defense. Pat Schiller had 5 tackles with Jonathan Massaquoi tallying 3 tackles, 1 sack, and a pair of QB hits. Robert Alford also had an impressive debut with 3 tackles and 2 passes defended. Other notable defenders include Joplo Bartu (3 tackles); Kemal Ishmael (3 tackles); Stansly Maponga (2 tackle, 1 QB hit); Zeke Motta (3 tackles); Adam Replogle (3 tackles); and Desmond Trufant (3 tackles). Among starters Osi Umenyiora only had a tackle, but was able to provide some pressure off the edge before being pulled. Special teams also gave up a 71-yard touchdown return on a punt by Dane Sanzenbacher. Worrilow was among six Falcon defenders that had a stop on special teams.

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Five Falcons to Watch Tonight vs. Bengals

August 8th, 2013 Comments off
Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Dominique Davis

You might have thought I cheated by putting six Falcon players, but I didn’t. I have five Falcons and one Bengal. And watching that one Bengal will allow you to watch multiple Falcon players. But these are a handful of Falcons that I think certainly deserve to draw a lot of eyeballs in tonight’s preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

QB Dominique Davis

Matt Ryan may only see a series or two in the preseason opener if anything, which should give Davis a lot of work with the starters. While he won’t have Julio Jones or Tony Gonzalez to throw to, he should get plenty of time with players like Harry Douglas and Chase Coffman, as well as many of the Falcons starters up front, a considerable uptick from what he was predominantly working with last preseason as the fourth string quarterback to start off. If Davis picks up where he left off last summer, he’s well on his way to locking down the No. 2 spot behind Matt Ryan.

OT Lamar Holmes/Ryan Schraeder

Holmes will get the start at right tackle. I would not be surprised to see Holmes get the brunt of the work in the first half and give way to Schraeder at some point in the second or third quarter. I also would not be surprised for the Falcons to pull the plug fairly early on Sam Baker at left tackle, and give Schraeder reps on the left side in the first half, so the possibility that they can evaluate both Schraeder and Holmes at the same time. The Bengals front line is a formidable unit, and with ends like Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, all of the Falcons tackles will have their backs against the wall. Luckily for them, it’s doubtful that they will see either starter for extended reps.

MLB Brian Banks

Tonight’s game will mark Banks’ first real football action in a decade since he was falsely incarcerated as a top high school prospect. Banks has received plenty of work in recent months with the Falcons, but ostensibly when he hits the field he will be even rawer than your typical rookie due to all the time and learning lost. While the expectation won’t be that Banks will be a monster his first game in, it will be important for him to try and limit the mental errors he makes. And if he can make a couple of plays here and there, particularly against the run, that will be a bonus.

CB Desmond Trufant

I suspect Trufant will get the start at right corner. It’s a shame that Bengals wideout A.J. Green will be out of the lineup since Trufant would get an opportunity to test himself against one of the league’s best. Or at least another opportunity, since he gets two of those opportunities every day in practice going against Jones and Roddy White. Instead he should get plenty of work against the Bengals new de facto No. 1 receiver in the absence of Green which is Mohamed Sanu. Well, he was likely to see a lot of Sanu regardless, since he is the receiver that typically lines up against the right side. Sanu isn’t the fastest receiver, but he’s got good size and athleticism which allows him to make plays on the ball even when you have him blanketed. That should be a good first test for Trufant as he prepares to get ready for Marques Colston and Lance Moore in Week 1.

TE Tyler Eifert

I mention Eifert because he’s likely to get extended reps in his first preseason action. The 6’6″ 250 first round pick has had a strong camp and will be a difficult matchup for the Falcons starting linebackers, let alone the backups. With Sean Weatherspoon out of the lineup, it will be a good opportunity for Akeem Dent to showcase any abilities he possesses in coverage. And certainly if any of the reserves fare well if/when matched up on an island against Eifert, it could greatly benefit their chances of making the Falcons final roster. Essentially you’re watching Eifert to see which Falcon defender is covering him on that given play.

Training Camp: Day 12 Report

August 7th, 2013 Comments off

Wednesday served as a pre-game walkthrough day for the Falcons in preparation for tomorrow night’s preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

  • Tony Gonzalez’s return to Atlanta is not expected until around August 17 per John Manasso of FOX Sports. It has been previously noted that Gonzalez is expected to return for the third and fourth preseason games, the former of which will be played against the Tennessee Titans on August 24 in Nashville. That third preseason game is typically the one where NFL teams suit up their starters and play them into the third quarter, meaning it makes sense to have Gonzalez back in time for that. The return date of August 17 indicates that Gonzalez will likely use the week prior to knock off any rust that has accumulated since departing camp on July 27. In Gonzalez’s absence, most reports indicate that Chase Coffman and Levine Toilolo have made the most of their opportunities with the starters.
  • Mike Smith talked about many of the things he’ll look for in the upcoming preseason game, including the situation at right tackle. Another interesting note is that Smith indicated that he expects Jacquizz Rodgers to handle the team’s kickoff return duties during the regular season, although other players will get opportunities throughout the preseason. With Rodgers relatively secure on kickoffs, it would seem that the bulk of the competition will come for punt return duties. Throughout camp, players like Robert Alford, Dominique Franks, Jason Snelling, James Rodgers, Harry Douglas, and Rashad Evans have reportedly gotten work there. Previous reports indicate that Douglas is only likely going to be a last resort.
  • Thomas DeCoud gives some personal insight into some of his teammates in the secondary.
  • Daniel Cox has his five notes from Day 12 of camp, including discussion of the increased workload that Dominique Davis saw on Wednesday and will likely see throughout the preseason, the expectation that Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder will likely split reps at right tackle on Thursday, and Matt Ryan’s focus for the preseason and the rest of the year.
  • The Falcons haven’t quite ruled out Mike Johnson for the remainder of the year per Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcons.com.


    As noted earlier, the Falcons could seek to place Johnson on injured reserve but designated for return, sometimes referred to as the “short-term IR.” That would mean he would miss the first six weeks of the regular season and then be eligible to return to practice and subsequently the active roster after eight weeks. The short-term IR is only allowed for one player and must be determined by September 3 in the case of Johnson. The Falcons could opt to keep Johnson on the active roster between now and then, but they would lose one of their 90-man roster spots in camp. However they could potentially place him on the “normal” IR (gaining a roster spot) and then reactivate him for the September 3 deadline so that he can be then designated for return. The third option would to be of course to place him on normal long-term injured reserve with the expectation that he’ll miss the entire season. None of which, as Adams and Smith indicated, will not be known until following his surgery, scheduled for next week.

Training Camp: Day 8 Report

August 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Last night, the Falcons participated in their annual Friday Night Lights, a scrimmage in front of fans in Gainesville, Georgia. Over 14,000 fans showed up, setting a new attendance record for the event. In the end, the scrimmage resulted in a tie 14-14 between offense and defense. The Falcons will have Saturday off, and return to work tomorrow. Next week they will have combined practices with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday and Tuesday gearing up for their Thursday Night preseason opener in the Georgia Dome.

Jay Adams also gives his thoughts on the 5 players that stood out the most in his eyes.

Here are some of the highlight plays of the event from Adams as well:

The players also really appreciated the fans:

 

Camp Battles 2013: Quarterback

July 12th, 2013 Comments off
Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Dominique Davis is the center of attention

Of course, Matt Ryan is in no risk of losing his starting position. Ryan is coming off the best season of his career, and the hope is that he can build upon it. It was a year in which at least through the early running of the year he was considered a league MVP candidate. The only real negative of Ryan’s 2012 campaign was that his play started to diminish in the second half of the season. But even a diminished Ryan is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league. The expectation is that Ryan will receive a new contract extension that will make him one of the highest paid passers in the league before camp starts. If not, it could present a possible distraction as the media may raise questions why negotiations have been so protracted. The Falcons have made no secret about their desire to get Ryan locked up to a long-term deal since the end of the season, and the fact that a deal cannot get done before camp is somewhat troublesome.

But assuming the Falcons can get Ryan signed to a contract, much of the focus at the quarterback position this summer will be on the competition for Ryan’s backup. Dominique Davis is the incumbent, coming off a strong preseason performance during his rookie season last summer. If Davis can build off that, then he’ll be in the driver’s seat to take over as the top backup behind Ryan. Keys for Davis include showing that he has an improved command of the offense and has refined his mechanics and footwork somewhat, areas that despite an outstanding 2012 preseason were areas of weakness.

He’ll be pushed by seventh round pick Sean Renfree. Renfree missed a chunk of the offseason as he was recovering from an injury to his throwing arm that he suffered in Duke’s bowl game last December. Renfree is known for his smarts and toughness, and the key for him this summer will be showing that he’s a quick study when it comes to the offense. Davis has him beat as far as physical tools go, with the superior athleticism and mobility. But if Renfree can prove himself in the film room and then translate that into production on the field, he can potentially push Davis for the No. 2 spot.

Fourth arm Seth Doege is more than likely competing for a potential spot on the practice squad. While he does possess good arm strength and athleticism, the likelihood that he’ll be able to surpass either Davis and Renfree on the depth chart is low.

If Davis or Renfree doesn’t come out and have a strong summer, it will likely result in the Falcons pursuing a veteran backup at the end of camp once cuts are made. The Falcons scooped up Luke McCown at the end of last summer, and he filled the No. 2 spot ahead of Davis in 2012. If the Falcons pursued a veteran, they’d likely target a player with starting experience rather than another developmental backup. The possibility of McCown returning remains a possibility as he is set to compete with Seneca Wallace for the backup spot behind Drew Brees in New Orleans. If cut, he’d obviously be a top option. Other veterans with starting experience that might be on the roster bubble this summer include: David Carr (Giants), Curtis Painter (Giants), John Skelton (Bengals), Dan Orlovsky (Buccaneers), Brady Quinn (Seahawks), and Rex Grossman (Redskins). Trent Edwards, currently a free agent, is also a player that could be a target given that he played under Dirk Koetter for a year in Jacksonville.

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 31 “Thank God for Jake Delhomme”

July 2nd, 2013 6 comments

This week, Allen and I are once again joined by Tom Melton to discuss some of the upcoming roster and depth chart battles we expect to see in Atlanta Falcons training camp. We break down the battle along the right side of the offensive line as well as what could shake up with the battle for key depth positions at quarterback and tight end … We look at every level of the defense as battles rage at all the position groups. Tom weighs in on how Richard Seymour could help the Falcons … We discuss the depth at linebacker along with what if any of the young players could step up to help the Falcons pass rush … We dive into whether or not this year’s defensive line will live up to some past units and whether Falcon fans have been spoiled by past success up front … It wouldn’t be a Tom Melton episode without some patented Dunta Robinson bashing … We discuss their favorite young punter in the NFL and his name isn’t Matt Bosher … We discuss whether the loss of Tyson Clabo or John Abraham will hurt the team more and then reminisce on some of our favorite Predator moments over the years … Peter Konz’s future is discussed as well as Justin Blalock’s tuba playing … Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers’ values are also discussed. Note: This episode does contain explicit language, so it is NSFW!

Ep. 31: Thank God for Jake Delhomme [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Tom Melton can be found on twitter: @TMeltonScouting, and also writes for his own draft blog and NFL Draft Monsters.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Scouting Report: Sean Renfree

May 24th, 2013 Comments off

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Sean Renfree

Here is my breakdown of the Falcons final pick in Duke quarterback Sean Renfree:

Height: 6-3 1/8
Weight: 219
School: Duke
Class: Senior
Speed: 4.76 (estimate)

Was recruited by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, but ultimately chose Duke when Andrew Luck landed there. Became the starter as a redshirt sophomore. Showed improvement with his production every year, culminating in career highs in completions, completion percentage, and touchdowns as a senior. Posted his best record as a starter that year, leading Duke to a 6-6 record and their first bowl appearance since 1994. Nearly led the Blue Devils to a win over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, but a last minute touchdown pass lifted the Bearcats over them. Wound up injuring himself on the last play of the game, getting hit and tearing his pectoral muscle. That torn pec led to him not throwing in the off-season and not working out at either the Combine or his pro day. Is expected to begin throwing at some point in May before training camp begins. Renfree was coached by David Cutcliffe, a noted QB guru, at Duke. Pretty much every starting QB that has played under Cutcliffe since 1991 has played in the NFL: Heath Shuler (1991-93), Peyton Manning (1994-97), Tee Martin (1998), Romaro Miller (1999-00), Eli Manning (2000-03), Brady Quinn (2005), Erik Ainge (2006-07), Thad Lewis (2008-09), to Renfree. He was a three-time Academic All-ACC selection as well as served as Duke’s team captain his final two years.

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Takeaways From Last Week – 2013 NFL Draft

April 29th, 2013 2 comments
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Manti Te’o: “Star” of the Draft

The 2013 NFL Draft was held this past weekend, and as usual it was an intriguing affair. I told my brother, who did not watch one minute of the draft mainly because his wife detests football, that this year’s draft was much like recent NBA Drafts meaning that in future years the 2013 draft class won’t be particularly memorable with its star appeal. Not to say this draft won’t produce good or even great NFL players, because every draft does, at least everyone that I can recall. But as we often heard over the weekend, this was a draft in which the linemen were front and center. Try as they might, ESPN and NFL Network did their best to insert as much “star appeal” as possible by spending as much time as possible talking about this quarterback class and Manti Te’o.

The media desperately wanted to talk about those players, but ultimately I think the quarterbacks and Te’o will be largely forgotten in the NFL. Ultimately the best you’re going to hope from the group of quarterbacks drafted this year is that they produce a Matt Schaub or David Garrard-caliber passer. They may be competent to good starter, but the only time they’ll be really discussed by the media by and large is to talk about how they aren’t great.

Also, it’s not that I doubt Te’o will be a good NFL player, it’s just that his infamous catfishing incident may ultimately eclipse his NFL career. I think Te’o probably winds up playing a decade in the NFL, most of it as a starter. But I think he winds up being comparable to players like Curtis Lofton or Lofa Tatupu, capable starters that their respective team likes, but are rarely mentioned among the best in the league.

I know it’s unrealistic to think that I could turn on league’s flagship channel or the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and expect them to spend hours talking about the greatness of Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan, or any of the players at “blue collar” positions. But there were really good players in this draft and none them played quarterback or middle linebacker for Notre Dame, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the television coverage as they never went more than fifteen minutes without mentioning one of those lesser players.

My final comments on the draft before I start to discuss the Falcons picks specifically is that I do think it’s interesting that quarterbacks did not get pushed up the board. I talked about that in an earlier column this off-season. And at that time, it was difficult to fathom that there wouldn’t be any Top 10 selections at the quarterback position. I compared it to the 2011 class, where a number of lesser prospects went high in the draft and ultimately none of those teams are better for it. I still think the passers did get pushed up the board, but not as far as they normally do. So I tip my hat to NFL teams for not reaching too far on subpar passers. We’ll see if this trend continues next April.

But onto the Falcons…

I liked the Falcons draft. It’s not very sexy, nor is it one that I think people will look back and say made a huge impact on the team. But it’s a solid group of players. I think moreso than in recent drafts, the Falcons seemed more intent on looking at players that had higher ceilings. I think a hallmark of some of the Falcons post-2008 drafts has been targetting players with high floors, but relatively low ceilings. I think the opposite happened this year.

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Falcons FA Focus: Quarterback

January 30th, 2013 2 comments

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

David Garrard, ex-Jaguars QB.

After discussing where the Falcons can improve at the quarterback position, it’s now time to look at some potential options the Falcons may have this off-season to do so.

The free agent class of 2013 will be highlighted by Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, who will likely receive a long-term extension from the Ravens that will vie with the Falcons own Matt Ryan for the biggest contract of the off-season. After Flacco, the crop of free agents that will receive interest grows invariably thin. Matt Moore (Dolphins) and Jason Campbell (Bears) are the next best starting candidates. But both are in the same realm as players such as Chad Henne and Matt Flynn a year ago, where they are good enough to compete for a starting job, but not quite good enough to hand over the reins of a team to.

That could mean the Falcons pickings at the position could be slim if they wish to bolster competition this summer for the top reserve behind Matt Ryan. The Falcons might decide to re-sign Luke McCown and add another veteran to the mix to compete with him and Dominique Davis for the position.

Probably the player that makes the most sense is David Garrard. Like McCown, Garrard has experience in Dirk Koetter’s offense. And unlike McCown, Garrard possesses enough skill that he can potentially win a game for the Falcons if Ryan was to be out of the lineup. Garrard is a good vertical passer, something that McCown struggles to do. That means if/when Ryan is out of the game, the Falcons can still attack defenses vertically with wideouts Julio Jones and Roddy White, rather than being forced to rely on a steady running game (which they currently lack) and a dink and dunk attack to score points. But the main question with Garrard is going to be price tag. Garrard hasn’t played a meaningful snap since the 2010 season, but may feel that he’s still worth a starting position. He’s not likely to settle for a lower-level backup contract. Players like Henne, Campbell, and Kyle Orton signed deals that averaged between $3.5 and $4 million last year. That is the going rate for a quality backup with extensive starting experience. It would be likely that Garrard’s rate will approach or begin there. He signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Dolphins last year. If the Falcons could get him for a similar price tag, it would be a relative bargain. But that may ultimately be more than the Falcons are willing to spend on the position.

Another option on the open market could be Rex Grossman (Redskins). Like Garrard, Grossman is also comfortable throwing the football downfield and with the emergence of Kirk Cousins in Washington, likely won’t be in their future plans. Grossman isn’t likely to draw as much money as a player like Garrard could since it’s doubtful any teams will look for him as anything more than a backup. But again, that doesn’t mean he’ll be cheap. McCown could likely be re-signed by the Falcons for a one-year deal worth less than $1 million. Could Grossman be had at that price? Possibly, but it’s by no means a slam dunk.

There may also be a number of veteran players released this upcoming off-season. Notable names include Alex Smith (49ers), Mark Sanchez (Jets), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills). Smith and Flynn are likely to get dealt to a team looking for a starter (New York Jets?). Sanchez’s contract is such that he’ll be hard to dump this off-season, but it’s possible that the Jets opt to cut their losses and start fresh with another player. Fitzpatrick is due a significant bonus in March, and if Doug Marrone & Co. feel that he is not the future starter of the team he could be cut. Fitzpatrick has had his moments over the years in Buffalo, but is an erratic passer with questionable decision making, accuracy, and sloppy mechanics. Due to his experience, he also will likely command the higher dollars available to backup quarterbacks if signed by another team. Other players that could find themselves cut or traded this off-season include Colt McCoy (Browns), Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), Matt Cassel (Chiefs), and John Skelton (Cardinals).

Of those players, Skelton is the only one that has potential as a vertical passer. Skelton has a strong arm, but his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired which is why he has not been particularly effective when throwing downfield over the years. He’s also a virtual statue in the pocket, which is not a great fit behind a mediocre Falcons offensive line. Hasselbeck could be a good fit, as he shares a wealth of similarities with Matt Ryan starting with his hailing from the same college (Boston College). Both are more precise pocket passers that win pre-snap as opposed to being blessed with great physical tools. But he, like Cassel and McCoy struggle to throw the ball downfield. Cassel is an effective game manager when he has a steady ground attack, but in a strict, dropback offense he tends to struggle with his decision making. McCoy is comfortable working a wide-open spread system, but struggles to read defenses due to his short stature. Interior pressure really gives him fits and he doesn’t have the arm strength to drive the ball downfield.

Overall, the best fit/candidate if the Falcons want to significantly upgrade the competition in camp remains Garrard. He’s by no means a perfect quarterback. He’s a gunslinger that will force some throws downfield, which can lead to turnovers. But unlike McCown or Chris Redman before him, Garrard can win games with his arm because he’s not going to be afraid to challenge defenses downfield. And given his starting experience (76 starts), he’s not going to be gunshy if/when the pressure is on. The same cannot be said for McCown.

If the Falcons simply want a backup quarterback that will manage the game and minimize mistakes, they will have plenty of options to choose from. If the Falcons are looking to save money, then they can simply settle for what they usually do and pick up a fourth arm via an undrafted guy after the draft. But if the Falcons want to get the most out of the backup quarterback position in 2013, then Garrard probably is the best option available.

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