The Atlanta Falcons are more set at quarterback than most positions on their roster with a burgeoning star in Matt Ryan and a capable veteran back up in Chris Redman.
Redman showed in 2009 that he can more than hold his own should Ryan go down again as he did last season with a toe injury. In March, the Falcons rewarded Redman with a two-year contract to be prepared should the worst happen again.
AtlantaFalcons.com continues the countdown-to-training camp-roster reviews with the signal callers.
Matt Ryan 3rd season
Who:The Falcons' first-round pick (third overall) in 2008 has proven to be the right choice, winning the '08 Rookie of the Year award while leading the franchise to an 11-5 mark and a playoff berth. Though he struggled with injuries and some inconsistency last season, his maturity, decision making, and leadership evolved leading many to believe Ryan is ready to catapult himself into the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL in his third season.
Why:Ryan won the starting job in training camp as a rookie and has given the Falcons no reason to remove QB1 from his jersey. The 25-year-old quarterback's 20-10 record in the previous two seasons is the second-best mark for quarterbacks with 30 starts or more in the NFC. Ryan's intangibles such as poise in the pocket are considered light years ahead of a quarterback on his learning curve and most pundits believe the physical attributes are coming into their own for the third-year quarterback. Wide receiver Roddy White has already predicted a Pro Bowl season for his young quarterback in 2010.
How:Barring a disaster of epic proportions, Ryan will be the starter in Year Three.
Chris Redman 8th season
Who:Though Redman's record as a starter in 2009 was 0-2, he played much better than it suggests. Filling in in Week 12 for the injured Ryan, Redman lead the Falcons to a 20-17 late-fourth-quarter win over the Tampa Bay Bucs. After a less-than-favorable outing against the Eagles, Redman bounced back impressively against the Saints, producing a 93.1 QB rating and completing 67.6% of his passes.
Why:Redman's performance last season, a solid 2007 campaign, and his off-field work habits and familiarity with the playbook all played a role in Atlanta re-signing the veteran quarterback for another two seasons as Ryan's backup. A steady hand is the most-desired trait in a backup and Redman provides that should Ryan go down in 2010.
How:There's no reason to believe Redman will be the team's starter in 2010. At 33, Redman seems to have embraced the role he fills with the Falcons, but continues to prepare each week with the mindset of a starter.
John Parker Wilson 2nd season
Who:The former University of Alabama star never saw the field as a rookie third-string QB last season, but was brought back for a second season, fending off competition from Eric Ward and D.J. Shockley through the offseason.
Why:The 6'2" QB has the football intelligence the Falcons like (he holds virtually every Alabama passing record) and is surrounded by good mentors in Ryan and Redman as he is groomed to potentially be the team's backup.
How:A fourth QB will likely be added for the 2010 Russell Falcons Training Camp but the third-string role will be Wilson's to lose. Continued growth and a repeat of last year's training camp performance will go a long way toward ensuring Wilson is on the roster for 2010.