Atlanta Falcons: Four position battles to watch for heading into the 2020 season
Will Kurt Benkert step up and surpass Matt Schaub for the backup role?
I get that the backup quarterback position isn’t usually a big need in Atlanta or has any effect on the season. Matt Ryan has only missed three games his entire career due to injury. Knock on wood, hopefully, this trend continues into 2020.
What if Matt Ryan contracts the Coronavirus? Sure, it may sound silly right now, but it is a real possibility. The Coronavirus will still be prevalent during the season and some people believe the second wave of cases could be worse than what we are currently going through.
Let’s assume that the expected increase in mass testing allows for a normal season to unfold whether it be with or without fans. NFL players would be tested routinely and players who test positive will then be out via “injury” for the next couple or more weeks. The standard for quarantine is a two week isolation period, but who knows if it would be longer or shorter by that time.
The quarterback position is the heartbeat of the entire team. The Atlanta Falcons without Matt Ryan would seemingly fall apart at the seams. You lose his leadership and his passing abilities to 39-year-old career backup in Matt Schaub. Since the end of 2013, Schaub has only started in three games, and in those three games has only had six scores with five interceptions. The Atlanta Falcons have also never won a game in which Schaub was the starter, dating back to his earlier years in Atlanta.
While quarterbacks are playing into their 40s and late 30s, Schaub doesn’t fit into that pedigree to be expected to perform. This means Kurt Benkert will really have to step up this offseason and show he can be relied upon if he is ever needed.
Benkert showed signs of success early last preseason but was forced to sit out the season after suffering a toe injury in the Hall of Fame game. Schaub, on the other hand, drew an awful performance in the Hall of Fame game and improved slightly thereafter. However, with Benkert absent, it’s unknown how the two truly stack up.
If Matt Ryan has to miss time in a crucial stretch of the season, to most the Atlanta Falcons have the league’s hardest schedule, will either player push the other to play their best? Or is Schaub only here to see what the Atlanta Falcons can get out of Benkert?