Atlanta Falcons: T.J. Yates’ backup quarterback job is far from safe


Matt Ryan has no threat of losing his starting quarterback job anytime soon, but the battle to be his backup is well and truly on between T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree.

Yates was outperformed by Renfree in the Atlanta Falcons’ 31-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of preseason. He will need a better outing against the New York Jets this week to avoid the risk of being leapfrogged on the depth chart.

“It’s one hundred percent still a competition,” head coach Dan Quinn said. “Both guys are battling like crazy. I like the support they give one another.”

After Ryan marched the Falcons down the field in his excellent cameo to kick off the game, Yates stepped in to show Quinn what he could do. And it was tough viewing at times. Yates went 9 of 15 for 105 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. He finished with a passer rating of 53.5.

Renfree in contrast went 6 of 7 for 68 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions with a passer rating of 107.1. It’s a small sample size, but he looked comfortable on the field. Quinn was impressed.

“What an awesome end for Sean,” Quinn said. “For me to have those guys get in those scenarios, where Matt [Ryan] gets in so many of those feature plays, we have been working hard on those situations. For them to go in there and function like they are capable of, I was glad to see that battle. Sean especially at the end on the finish, he really had great command down there.”

It’s worth noting that Renfree was out there with the reserves and faced ‘easier’ competition. It was also only one preseason game, so Yates has plenty of time to bounce back and show he can look more comfortable in the Falcons’ offense.

Competition is healthy, and the man to backup ‘the man’ is yet to be determined.

Next: 5 most underrated Falcons heading into 2015

More from Blogging Dirty