We already knew coming into training camp that backup quarterback Dominique Davis would be in line for a lot of preseason time this year. What's become clear through the first few weeks of camp is just how much early trust the Falcons have in Davis to be the top backup to Matt Ryan. While they drafted Sean Renfree this year in the seventh round, he's not expected to compete for QB2 for a while. No veteran quarterback was brought in to compete with Davis this year, setting up a promising opportunity for Davis, an undrafted signee that made the team last season as the third backup.
An entire offseason as the primary backup and the opportunity for second-string reps vs. the few he got last season in camp Davis said has made all the difference in the world on his comfort level in the offense and that makes this year much different than last.
"It feels a lot different as far as coming into camp and getting a lot more reps instead of last year being a fourth-string guy and not getting that many reps and getting thrown into the fire," Davis said. "It's a lot different. I have a lot more to look forward to and lot to prove."
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Head coach Mike Smith said he's absolutely pleased with the quick maturation of Davis. He said he anticipates the young-quarterback mistakes that will come with more playing time, but he sees a kid that is improving. Smith said Davis will be on the field a lot in Thursday's preseason opener and they want to see him play smart football.
"Dom's going to get a lot of snaps in terms of getting him as many looks as we possibly can," Smith said. "Right now Dom is listed as our No. 2 quarterback and he's going to play the majority of the game on Thursday night. We want to see him run the offense, make accurate throws and most importantly make good decisions, not only in the passing game but good decisions in getting us in and out of plays against certain looks."
Davis said a full season watching Ryan and the offseason working even closer with him has been a huge benefit. As a freshman at Boston College, Davis was teammates with Ryan so he knew what kind of player he would be teammates with. So solid is the example Ryan has set for Davis, the second-year QB said since he came on board he has tried to do what Ryan does in his approach to preparation and leadership.
He's listed as the team's No.2 as Smith said, but Davis doesn't think any position is his just yet. After positive performances last season in the preseason, he knows he has to raise his game even more and looks to Thursday to begin to do that. By his play on the field, he wants his team to know he can be counted on.
"I'm just trying to show these players and these coaches that they can trust me out there," Davis said. "You never know what can happen, things go wrong. I want to be able to step in and it can be where we won't miss a heartbeat. My main thing is showing these players and coaches they can trust me."