Looking back and Looking ahead. By Bobby G Copperhead


Matt Ryan with his new contract will be leader of the Birds for many years so fans will look at the position as signed sealed and super bowl bound for at least a couple of trips. I’m thinking and hoping Matt gets three rings in his career which would certainly please Falcon nation the next decade and get him a statue outside that new stadium. But let us never forget to check history and although this is no boy scout team, the birds should always be prepared. In 1991 the Falcons were led by Chris Miller who had a fantastic year and threw
three touchdowns in a playoff win over the Saints no less. They traded second round draft pick Bret Farve
during the winter of ‘92 and were about to enter the new Georgia Dome. The dark cloud of 1992 was that Miller never equaled the 1991 season again and a poor defense led to a 6 – 10 record. Miller finished with a 75 QB passer rating which puts him in Vinny Testeverde’s group. Back up Billy Joe Tolliver may have been a fan favorite but was not someone going to lead a team to the playoffs.
In 2001 Atlanta used the top pick to bring Mike Vick aboard. Taking Atlanta to two playoffs and going to three pro bowls he became a highly popular NFL figure even outside Georgia, but a 2006 season that derailed from two losses to arch rival New Orleans and a horrible week 16 loss to Carolina by a score of 10-3 cost Coach Jim Mora his job and during the winter Atlanta used backup quarterback and 2004 third round pick Matt Schaub as a trade piece to strengthen the 2007 draft. Seemed like a solid move until another dark cloud appeared – the darkest in franchise history we all know too well, – and the 2007 back up QB group of Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich and Chris Redman could not get Atlanta to five wins. Losing a starting quarterback for any reason in the NFL is as devastating as a Georgia Hockey fan watching the Thrashers moving van drive away.
But same can be said for any team, knowing last years Forty Niner come up Colin is a very rare occurrence and all NFL team structures are brittle after the first line of depth is broken. I believe Matt will take us to a super bowl for sure, but what if that unforeseen dark cloud comes over the Dome again?
Can another season in camp make Dom Davis a better back up than many rivals? I say absolutely.
New Orleans has Luke McCown and Senaca Wallace behind Brees. Both are 32. McCown has 9 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 7 fumbles in his career while the 5’ 11” Wallace has a career 59 % completion rating. Neither have a great arm or swift legs.
Carolina has at backup Q.B Derek Anderson, age 30 with more interceptions (55) than touchdowns (53)
in his time in the NFL and Jimmy Clausen who got a shot in 2010 to shine and ended with 9 interceptions and 3 touchdowns with a 52% completion mark. Starting to feel good about Dom ?
Tampa Bay has Connecticut signal caller Dan Orlovsky who as a veteran of eight seasons has played in 21 games with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. They also have Mike Glennon who was selected in the third round of this years draft. Not a good draft for quarterbacks when only one (Geno at number 29) was taken in the first round.
Dom Davis played well last year. Any improvement this preseason should show trust in a lot of upside over a aging veteran cast off. None of the mentioned backups, who have all had their chance, catch an eye on stats that shine. A nervous but enthusiastic kid can’t do any worse and mistakes are part of the learning curve. Peyton Manning shined and set some rookie records when he got his chance, but still was director of a 3 – 13 team and had a league high 28 interceptions. Dom will never be Peyton. He could not handle every situation, audible or no huddle the way Matt can no doubt, but is the same size as Ryan, and has better younger legs. His athletic ability and the weapons he has in the huddle would not necessarily raise the white flag of the Atlanta season.
Outside the division I also looked at the best of the west, where San Francisco and Seattle both have let solid back up quarterbacks go. Probably a more dangerous situation than Atlanta has with Ryan is the fact both Kaepernick and Wilson are quite a bit more mobile and we know the facts of Q.B’s that get hit a lot like Vick and RGIII that make for a perilous season. San Francisco has Colt McCoy as the back and Seattle has Brady Quinn, who are both Cleveland Brown cast offs and at 24 games each in the NFL have nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns.
Dom Davis has the athleticism and upside to give the birds that solid back up at a valuable position.
A team that likely won’t be drafting in the teens for some time to come should look at Dom as worthy of a extension himself, although two solid quarterbacks seldom are kept on an NFL roster for financial reasons I can only assume, which again takes us to Dom as a trade chip, for which the Birds should get a big return.
Looking back on Falcon history with back up QB’s and looking ahead for stability and success the Birds
should be prepared to make this intriguing prospect as coveted as any back up in the league.