Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Quarterbacks


(Over the offseason, we’ll take a look at each of the position groups. Today, we look at the quarterbacks.)

Matt Ryan gets in a few more throws at minicamp on Tuesday. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Matt Ryan gets in a few more throws at minicamp on Tuesday.
(Todd Kirkland/AP)

FLOWERY BRANCH —Matt Ryan is determined to have a bounce-back season.

Ryan has spent a great deal of his time this offseason trying to master the footwork in the outside zone scheme. He believes that he can fix a lot of the things that led to his interceptions last season.

Also, having a veteran center Alex Mack should help immensely with the ball handling.

Ryan sat down with Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz to watch some film of his play from last season. The story helped to explain how the offense struggled after the 6-1 start last season.

Here’s a copy of the article: Film doesn’t lie, but Matt Ryan learning from mistakes.

The Falcons have three quarterbacks behind Ryan in Matt Schaub, Sean Renfree and Matt Simms.

Schaub was signed in the offseason. The former Falcon played and flourished in the offense while with the Houston Texans from 2007 to 2013.

Ryan believes having Schaub will help the offense.

Schaub had one of his best seasons as a pro under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan while with the Houston Texans in 2009.

Curtis Compton Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree gets off a pass during the second half of an NFL exhibition game against Miami on Friday, August 8, 2014, in Atlanta. The team elected to keep three quarterbacks.

Curtis Compton
Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree gets off a pass during the second half of an NFL exhibition game against Miami on Friday, August 8, 2014, in Atlanta. The team elected to keep three quarterbacks.

“It’s great to have Matt Schaub back,” Ryan said. “His experience, a guy who’s been here in Atlanta before, it’s fun to be a part of that. He’s a guy who can really help me.”

Schaub will have to beat out Sean Renfree and Matt Simms to be the No. 2 quarterback. The Falcons could elect to carry three signal-callers and have Schaub as kind of a player-coach.

Ryan had an experienced backup in Chris Redman from 2008-11.

In 2012, the Falcons carried three quarterbacks, with Luke McCown and Dominique Davis behind Ryan. In 2013, Davis held the backup spot. In 2014, the Falcons released Davis after trading for T.J. Yates. Last season, Renfree beat out Yates, and there was the Rex Grossman training-camp experiment.

Schaub, 34, who was selected by the Falcons in the third round (90th overall) of the 2004 draft, has played in 141 games and made 92 starts. The former Virginia star has posted a 47-45 record as a starter.

After playing seven seasons with the Texans, he played a season in Oakland and last season with Baltimore, where he was 1-1 over two starts.

“He’s been in the fire and will be able to see some things from a different perspective and be able to help me prepare during the week,” Ryan said. “I’m really excited about Matt being here.”

Schaub believes he can be an asset.

“I’m excited to be back,” Schaub said. “I’m excited to be back in this city and this town. … I’m looking forward to contributing and helping out wherever I can.”

Shanahan was Schaub’s quarterback coach in 2007. He was his offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009 before leaving for Washington. Schaub had a mega-season under Shanahan in 2009, when he led the league with 396 completions, 583 attempts, 4,770 yards passing and 298.1 yards passing per game. He also tossed 29 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions and went to his first Pro Bowl. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013.

“My prior relationship with Kyle and my knowledge of how he operates and functions in this offense (should help),” Schaub said. “I just hope that I can help Matt out and help the young guys come along because we are a young team.”

Renfree was the backup the past three seasons. He played in two games last season and was 3 of 7 for 11 yards and had one interception.

Simms, after spending last season on the practice squad, is fighting for a roster spot.

He did enough for the Falcons to re-sign him over the offseason in January.

The Falcons like Simms’ arm strength and his ability to make plays on the move.

Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur believes Simms is in a prime position to compete for a roster spot.

“This is his first real chance at our system and he has to make the most of every opportunity that he gets on the field,” LaFleur said. “It’s going to be a competitive situation and they all are going to get opportunities in the (exhibition) season to show what they can do.”

THE QUARTERBACKS

2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 12 Sean Renfree, 1 Matt Simms

90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS — POSITION BY POSITION

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Quarterbacks

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Running backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Linebackers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Specialists

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Shanahan thinks offense will change thrive with cut in turnovers

Matt Ryan’s film session with AJC columnist Jeff Schultz

Alex Mack, Falcons looks good for one another

PROJECT PASS RUSH

Dan Quinn pressing all buttons to create a pass rush

How does drafting Keanu Neal help the pass rush?

DL line coach Bryan Cox: Hageman needs to improve his play

LB coach Jeff Ulbrich: ‘Cream will rise’ at linebacker for Falcons

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith pleased with early progress of the defense

Falcons still have a spot for DT Jonathan Babineaux

Dwight Freeney 95 percent certain that he will play in 2016

Falcons working 80 percent of time on pass rush

Weatherspoon on Freeney: ‘He still has it’

FALCONS’ OFFSEASON SPOTLIGHTS

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: OG Wes Schweizter, sixth round pick

Falcons offseason spotlight: LB De’Vondre Campbell, fourth round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: TE Austin Hooper, third round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: LB Deion Jones, second round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: SS Keanu Neal, first round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DE/SLB Vic Beasley

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DT Grady Jarrett

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: FS Robenson Therezie

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: CB Jalen Collins

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: RB Tevin Coleman

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: WR Justin Hardy

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