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What Josh Rosen signing means for Falcons quarterback situation

Former top 10 NFL Draft pick could benefit from working with Arthur Smith, Matt Ryan, but must make a good first impression

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Josh Rosen's a quarterback you know well. Top 10 NFL Draft picks often stick in the brain, either as a success story or a pivotal franchise selection on gone awry.

Rosen falls in the latter category, someone with great talent who has bounced around the league more than expected. He's just 24 years old and is already on to his fifth team over four-plus seasons after signing with the Falcons, a move made official on Tuesday.

That's not a great run for someone drafted so high, but pairing him with veteran starter Matt Ryan and respected offensive mind Arthur Smith might prove a good landing spot.

A spot was available after AJ McCarron tore his ACL on Saturday. Undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks is also in camp, but McCarron was the clear frontrunner to be Ryan's backup. That gig is up in the air, and Rosen will be competing for it while trying to learn from those above him.


Ryan's an open book and a willing mentor to young quarterbacks. Smith is smart and creative yet demanding, with experience turning things around for former first-round picks off to rocky career starts. Just ask Ryan Tannehill about that fact.

It's unfair to expect a similar trajectory for Rosen. There's no telling how long he'll be in Atlanta or how long a leash he'll have if someone released after final cuts catches the Falcons' eye.

He'll have to quickly absorb a package of plays and future chunks of Smith's system and apply them quickly. The Falcons will be realistic with the amount of information given at once. Most quarterbacks have a whole offseason program to learn. Rosen won't have much time at all, especially if he's asked to pay Sunday against Cleveland.

"I just think it's unfair to throw somebody out there and say here here's the entire game plan, you better be able to operate," Smith said." "So, depending on who we sign, you know they'll be ready to go."

He'll have to show that he can use quality physical tools to run the plays he is given well.

Rosen is ideally sized at 6-foot-4, 226 pounds, with draft analysts saying he had quality mechanics and footwork. He was drafted into a difficult spot, struggling as a rookie starter in Arizona before the Cardinals picked Kyler Murray and traded him to Miami the following year. He was a Dolphins backup in 2019, and was cut after Tua Tagovailoa was taken in the first round. Then he ended up with the Buccaneers and the 49ers after that.

The Falcons will give him an opportunity to earn a job – he'll help them get through the preseason at a bare minimum – possibly as Ryan's backup.

Smith cautioned however, that signing a quarterback now won't prevent them from doing so again soon.

"If we add someone this week, doesn't mean that we may not add another person next week," Smith said. "We'll continue to monitor that."

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins in the second preseason game of 2021.

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