It will be interesting to see how the Falcons handle rookie QB Matt Ryan. One train of thought is to let him take his lumps like the Manning boys did and let him learn on the job. The other thought is to let him watch and learn for a year like Steve McNair and Carson Palmer did. Ryan is no doubt more talented than either Chris Redman and Joey Harrington and it’s up in the air how much he could actually learn from those two guys based on their careers to date. With that in mind it makes sense to start Ryan if he beats out both Harrington and Redman in training camp. The Falcons could also protect him in his first season by running a conservative offense. After all, they did spend a lot of money on new RB Michael Turner and they still have the lightning quick Jerious Norwood too. It makes more sense to just start Ryan this season but we will see how the Falcons handle it.
Chris Redman was effective last season after replacing Joey Harrington late in the season. He had last appeared in a NFL game in 2003 with the Ravens before reemerging last season in Atlanta. Redman has a decent arm and he’s a pretty smart guy who played well in limited action last season. Defenses will be ready for him this time around because they will have a lot of game film to look at so Redman will probably have to adjust his game a little bit. He will likely be the starter if the Falcons don’t deem Matt Ryan ready to go. Redman played in 7 games (4 starts) for the Falcons last season and he completed 89 of 149 passes (59.7%) for 1,079 yards with 10 TD passes and 5 interceptions (90.4 QB Rating). He also carried the ball 8 times for 16 yards (2.0 ypc). Redman’s numbers were a marked improvement over his career numbers so you have to wonder if it was a fluke or not. Redman has now played in 17 games (10 starts) in his NFL career and he has completed 195 of 347 passes (56.2%) for 2,190 yards with 17 TD passes and 10 interceptions (79.5 QB Rating). He has also carried the ball 21 times for 28 yards (1.3 ypc).
Joey Harrington re-signed with the Falcons thinking that he would have a fair shot to win the starting job in training camp but he will most likely be holding a clipboard and watch Matt Ryan and Chris Redman play. Harrington wasn’t awful last season but he was still below average. He has the tools to be a good QB but he often throws the ball where he shouldn’t resulting in a game altering turnover. Harrington played in 12 games (10 starts) for the Falcons last season and he completed 215 of 348 passes (61.8%) for 2,215 yards with 7 TD passes and 8 interceptions (77.2 QB Rating). He also carried the ball 14 times for 33 yards (2.4 ypc). Harrington has not lived up to his potential coming out of college and he’s running out of time to turn things around. Harrington has now played in 81 games (76 starts) in his NFL career and he has completed 1,424 of 2,538 passes (56.1%) for 14,693 yards with 79 TD passes and 85 interceptions (69.4 QB Rating). He has also carried the ball 142 times for 402 yards (2.8 ypc).
D.J. Shockley will try to win the #3 QB job in training camp but the odds are stacked against him. The only real thing he has going for him is that he went to college at Georgia.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: D+