At the conclusion of the Falcons' recent minicamp, head coach Mike Smith pointed to a number of positions whose training camp battles he'll be monitoring closely. Among those were defensive back and right tackle, but one he didn't mention is the position backing up starting Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan.
So far it appears second-year QB Dominique Davis has the edge entering training camp, but the Falcons added a Duke-educated QB in this year's draft in Sean Renfree and brought in college free agent QB Seth Doege. It's an overlooked battle in this year's training camp, but quarterback isn't any different than any other position on the team: you're only as good as your backup.
Davis spent last season as the third quarterback behind Ryan and No. 2 backup Luke McCown. He was never active for a game day, but he spent the entire season in every meeting the coaches had with Ryan and McCown, providing the rookie with vital experience.
This year offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has some change at the QB position with three players with a combined single season of experience vying to backup Ryan. Ryan's been a stabilizing force amidst the change in the meeting room and Koetter is looking forward to seeing Davis play meaningful snaps in the preseason.
"Dom is a guy we're anxious to work with," Koetter said. "Dom showed well in the preseason last year. He's continuing to improve. He's ahead of where he was, but you're never really going to know about your backup quarterback until he goes in a game and plays. The preseason will be huge for Dom."
Last preseason, Davis was one of the surprises, albeit at a position manned by a Pro Bowler. He managed to find playing time in all four preseason games and played exceptionally well given that it was his first NFL experience.
Davis completed 33 of his 56 pass attempts, displaying an impressive ability to be efficient and complete passes in the Falcons' offense. His youth showed some in his three interceptions, but he threw for four touchdowns, as well.
He showed improvement each week, ending in his Week 4 performance that saw him play the entire game, completing 14 of 24 passes with two touchdowns. Two of his preseason scores were on explosive plays, connecting on 39-yard and 49-yard touchdown passes. He completed the preseason with a QB rating of 84.6.