The team announced that quarterback D.J. Shockley has been waived from the team. Shockley was a seventh round pick in 2006. He spent his rookie season as the team’s third quarterback, before missing the 2007 season with an injury. In 2008, he returned to hold his third spot on the depth chart, but this past season was beat out by undrafted rookie John Parker Wilson. He began the season on the practice squad, but was cut this past October. But was re-signed in December. During his four-year career in Atlanta, Shockley did not appear in any regular season games.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that wide receiver Troy Bergeron has been signed to the practice squad. Bergeron was among 13 cuts the team made yesterday to get down to the 53-man roster. The Falcons have not released the names of the other palyers on the practice squad. NFL teams can add up to eight players to their practice squad.
UPDATE: The Falcons announced the other seven players signed to the practice squad: offensive tackle Mike Butterworth, linebacker Robert James, defensive end Maurice Lucas, cornerback Glenn Sharpe, quarterback D.J. Shockley, offensive guard Jose Valdez, and defensive tackle Vance Walker.
The Falcons announced 13 cuts that get the team down to 53 players on the roster. The players released were: Troy Bergeron, Thomas Brown, Mike Butterworth, Robert Ferguson, Robert James, Aaron Kelly, Maurice Lucas, Will Middleton, Jason Rader, D.J. Shockley, Jose Valdez, Vance Walker, and Jamie Winborn.
Shockley was a 2007 draft pick, while James and Brown were taken in the 2008 draft. Middleton and Walker were draft picks this past year.
Kelly, Lucas, and Valdez were undrafted rookie free agents this past year. Bergeron and Butterworth were free agent pickups last year. Ferguson, Rader, and Winborn were veteran pickups.
Re-assessing which players have raised and lowered their stock after two preseason games.
Thomas Johnson – He started the first preseason game and has added some size. It remains to be seen if Johnson will be the opening day starter, but he’s made an impression that he should at least land a reserve spot in the rotation.
Chris Owens – He’s given up two touchdown passes in the preseason, but Owens has impressed the coaches throughout the summer with his speed and instincts. While he’s probably not in the hunt for a starting position with Brent Grimes taking the lead there, he still stands a good shot of landing the nickel back spot by opening day.
Michael Turner – There was no doubt that Turner is the man. But he’s looked very strong in his two preseason performances so far. Questions still remain whether Turner’s workload last year will have a detriment later in the season, but just like in 2008, Turner seems poised for a strong start in 2009.
Eric Weems – He seems almost a lock to make the final roster because he’s been the most consistent return threat, and has shown an ability to contribute somewhat on offense as a potential slot receiver. Weems isn’t the player that Harry Douglas is, but if he continues to play like he’s done, the team’s need to find that player elsewhere will be less by the end of the preseason.
Peria Jerry – He is still in the hunt for the starting position, and the coaches will give him plenty of chances to win it. But Jerry hasn’t done much in the first two preseason games, suggesting that he may be better off working off the bench as the season starts.
Mike Peterson – Peterson hasn’t had great days in the first two preseason games. While he’s no threat to lose his starting job, don’t be surprised if he loses a lot of reps to Coy Wire or Jamie Winborn once the regular season starts.
D.J. Shockley – Shockley hasn’t been overly impressive in his two preseason performances, and may need a strong finish to salvage his roster spot. He just hasn’t shown the mastery of running an NFL offense that one should seem coming from a fourth-year veteran and a guy with a year’s experience in this offense. Comparing him to John Parker Wilson right now, it’s hard telling who’s the rookie and who’s the fourth-year veteran.
Training camp is just little more than a month away, so it’s time to talk about some of the upcoming battles we may see.
The battle at quarterback this summer will be for depth. Matt Ryan won’t be looking over his shoulder for a second. Chris Redman is currently the No. 2, but there’s no guarantee he will keep that job. A strong summer from D.J. Shockley could unseat him. But Shockley’s grasp on the roster is even more tentative. The Falcons signed undrafted rookie John Parker Wilson, who with a strong summer could take over the No. 3 role.
Both Redman and Shockley are free agents after this season, which could contribute to the chances that Wilson makes the final roster. Unless the Falcons see both as long-term options as reserve quarterbacks, it may mean they dump one for the other and try to develop Wilson for down the road.
The most likely outcome and most conservative bet at this point seems to point to both Redman and Shockley keeping their jobs, and the Falcons putting Wilson on their practice squad.
The Falcons announced today that rookie quarterback Matt Ryan will start the team’s third preseason game on Friday against the Tennessee Titans. Ryan, along with most of the team’s starters, is set to play the entire first half and a series in the second half. While the Falcons have not officially announced which of their quarterbacks will open the season as the starter, all signs point to Ryan.
Previously, head coach Mike Smith indicated that all four quarterbacks will get a chance to start one of the team’s preseason games. Which means that D.J. Shockley will start the preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
The AJC’s Steve Wyche cites Falcons head coach Mike Smith as indicating that the team’s starting quarterback position is up for grabs.
“We want them all to compete as if they’ll be starters…It’s going to be an open competition.”
– Mike Smith
From most indications, Chris Redman is the incumbent and enters camp atop the depth chart, but all four passers the team has in camp will have the opportunity to win the job. Redman finished last season strongly with four starts, passing for 1079 yards, 10 touchdowns, and a 90.4 passer rating. But the team drafted Matt Ryan with the third overall pick this past April, and he’s definitely slated to be the quarterback of the future. But Ryan will have the opportunity to be the quarterback of today as well if he performs well in camp. Also on the roster are Joey Harrington who started 10 games last year and D.J. Shockley who was a seventh round pick two years ago.
Steve Wyche of the AJC reports that quarterback D.J. Shockley has been medically cleared to participate in all football-related team activities. Shockley suffered a torn ACL during last summer and missed all of the regular season, and has been limited thus far throughout most of the off-season.
Wyche also reports that offensive tackle Todd Weiner is still sidelined as he is recovering from knee surgery. Weiner missed 8 games last season due to injuries to both knees and underwent surgery on both. According to Wyche, Weiner indicated his hope that he would be doing some light jogging at this point in the off-season, but is not. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff expects Weiner to be healthy by the start of training camp at the end of July.