Atlanta Falcons vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Roster Battles

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Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback T.J. Yates (13) is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (91) during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Falcons 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Role: #2 QB

In The Race: TJ Yates, Sean Renfree

The Falcons acquired TJ Yates from the Houston Texans in a straight swap for linebacker Akeem Dent. It appeared that TJ Yates would have been the lock to be the top backup but things haven’t gone so smoothly. He has struggled in each preseason game. His intelligence and decision making tends to be good but it is his arm strength and accuracy which has doomed him. He isn’t a very talented passer, so he always needed to be surrounded by great talent to be effective and that isn’t what he’s got so far.

The other quarterback in the mix is Sean Renfree. Drafted from Duke in 2013, he spent the entire season on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. In terms of what he brings to the table, there is a contrast with TJ Yates. He is more talented than Yates but is further behind mentally. Perhaps that is why he has performed better so far, as the mental demands against 2nd and 3rd stringers are significantly less than 1st stringers.

My Verdict: Even though Renfree has had the better preseason, I still think TJ Yates would be the better backup. To echo what I said before, I believe Yates is fine mentally but it is his lack of talent which gets the better of him when he plays with backups. He would fare better if he was throwing to Julio Jones and Roddy White instead. I don’t think the step-up in defensive talent will offset what he gains with better teammates whereas with Renfree I believe it will. Furthermore, Renfree has practice squad eligibility which facilitates my decision.