Atlanta Falcons: Dominique Davis and Ryan reunited

Quarterback Dominique Davis, signed out of East Carolina, hands the ball off. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Quarterback Dominique Davis, signed out of East Carolina, hands the ball off. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – When Falcons rookie quarterback Dominique Davis grabbed the microphone, he went straight old-school Motown.

Several reports have confirmed that his Eddie Kendricks’ impersonation of the Temptations song “Just My Imagination” would have drawn solid marks from Simon Cowell. He had the hostile crowd eating from the palm of his hands. If it was an American Idol episode, he would have earned a trip to the finals.

Also, the rookie defensive linemen, with Louis Nzegwu singing lead, did a nice cover of “My Girl.”

That’s just part of rookie life during training camp in the NFL.

Davis, who’s battling for one of the backup quarterbacks spots, took it all in stride. He credits his older brother, Desmond Clark, who played tight end in the NFL (1999-2010) with Denver, Miami and Chicago, with a valuable tip.

Rookie quarterback Dominique Davis, East Carolina, throws a pass during team practice. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Rookie quarterback Dominique Davis, East Carolina, throws a pass during team practice. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

“When he got drafted I was young, so I’ve been around it ever since I was 10 or 11 years old,” Davis said. “There wasn’t too much he couldn’t tell me. The only thing he could really tell me is that ‘you’re a rookie and there are certain things they are going to do to you because you’re a rookie, but it’s all a part of the process.’ ”

So when they told Davis to sing. He cleared his throat and started to sing.

The former star at East Carolina, who passed for more than 7,100 yards in two seasons, is trying to make the roster from one of the most improbable climbs.

Despite re-writing the record book at ECU, he was not invited to the NFL scouting combine. He had to pay a registration fee to participate in regional combine with some 500 other players at the Falcons’ facilities in Flowery Branch.

He was one of the lucky ones and was invited to the super regional combine in Detroit.

It was a lonely three days of the draft for Davis, too.

“I was just sitting there in front of the TV waiting for my name to get called,” said Davis, whom ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper had rated as the 27th best quarterback in the 2012 draft. “It didn’t get called. About 10 minutes later, Atlanta called me and that was it.”

He started his career at Boston College and was a redshirt freshman during Matt Ryan’s senior season.

In 2008, he helped lead the Eagles to the ACC championship game, but was later suspended for academic reasons and transferred to Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.

“It was just a learning experience,” said Davis of his departure from Boston College. “Everybody makes mistakes. Only the successful people learn from those mistakes. I always keep that experience in the back of my mind.” 

He led Fort Scott to an 11-0 record and a showdown with Cam Newton and Blinn (Texas) College for the national junior college championship. Newton’s squad edged Davis and Fort Scott 31-26 when they returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with 15.4 seconds left in the game.

Ouch!

“When people talk about that game, they just talk about it like we got beat,” Davis said. “Like Cam Newton was the savior of that game. We were up and we punted the ball with seconds left and they returned the ball. That was the game. That was nothing you could do about it. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. Every time that somebody brings it up, it kind of hurts, but you have to move on from it.”

While Newton went off the Auburn, won the FCS national title and the Heisman Trophy, Davis was still looking for an offer after that title game. East Carolina stepped in and he leaped at Skip Holtz’ offer and remained committed to the Pirates after Holtz left for South Florida.

He became the first East Carolina quarterback to complete more than 700 passes for 7,000 yards or more as he had 727 completions in 1,103 attempts for 7,192 yards.

During his brief Boston College stint, Davis took some lessons from Ryan.

“It was just a great experience, seeing a great quarterback out there, just making things happen,” Davis said. “What I tried to get from him was the consistency. He was consistent day-in and day-out. He was a blue collar guy on and off the field. I tried to model myself after him.”

Ryan has been impressed with Davis’ work with the Falcons.

“He’s a smart kid,” Ryan said. “He’s sharp. He done a great job of picking up the offense and ours is not one that is easy. We’ve got a lot that goes into it. I think he’s done a really, really good job with it.”

Ryan remembers their time together at Boston College.

“Dom was quiet when he came in,” Ryan said. “He’s still a relatively reserve guy. The one thing that I was always impressed with, even back then, is that he keeps his head down and he works hard. When he gets his shot, just like in college, he takes full advantage of it.”

Ryan is kind of jealous of one aspect of Davis’ development.

“He’s filled out a lot more,” Ryan said. “I used to be bigger than him in college. He was 18 and I was 22. Now, I think he’s got about 15 pounds on me, which is crazy.”

Davis is the fourth quarterback in a battle for one or possibly two spots behind Ryan. He’s battling Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson for a roster spot. Also, he could end on the practice squad.

He completed 6-of-11 passes for 53 yards in the exhibition opener against Baltimore. While he’s off to a good start, he’s not taking anything for granted.

“Until I can get a legit spot here, it’s all about business for me,” Davis said. “I don’t want to give any players or coaches the impression that I’m comfortable.”

Davis, thanks to his time with Ryan, knows what he has to do to impress the coaches.

“I just have to stay consistent, do the best I can,” Davis said. “Just make plays and don’t make too many mistakes, turnovers and stuff like that. I have to try to be a leader out there.”

Quarterbacks coach Glenn Thomas has been impressed.

“Dom has done really, really well,” Thomas said. “He’s a soft-spoken guy. He doesn’t say a lot. He just kind of lays back and soaks in information. If you ask him a question, he’ll answer it. He’s seems to be on top of his stuff.”

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81 comments Add your comment

prepdaa

August 14th, 2012
1:17 pm

Enter your comments here1st

prepdaa

August 14th, 2012
1:17 pm

Michael M.

August 14th, 2012
1:19 pm

To make a long story short, this young kid should win one of the back-up quarterback positions if he continues to play well unless Redman and JPW are doing something else like polishing shoes for the Falcon Brass ……………..

Chesty LaRue

August 14th, 2012
1:21 pm

Cut JPW and replace him with Davis.

Tom

August 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

I like what I’ve seen from him. Wouldn’t mind seeing him as #3, or possibly #2.

prepdaa

August 14th, 2012
1:26 pm

D led I like Davis to beat out parker for the 3rd spot and maybe next year redmon for the backup spot behind Ryan. He could come in on sneaks and we all know that’s a true weakness of Ryan. I like his ARM strength and he can avoid the rush.

Runner-

August 14th, 2012
1:31 pm

Redman looked awful out there that 1st game, he was awful last season as well. We need a better backup instead of him, I mean look at Dallas!! They have a legit, starting QB backup up Romo in Kyle Orton. If anything does happen to Matt, I want it to seem like our offense barely missed a beat. Davis would make a great 3rd QB and a prospect for the future backup spot, but I think both Redman and JPW have to go and the Falcons need to go out and get a proven backup QB.

ignition

August 14th, 2012
1:34 pm

2 Things I like about him already are:

1. He has the strongest arm on the team as QB..
2. He is the most mobile QB on the team..

If he works as hard as Ryan is saying then he is already ahead of JPW imo and a quick replacement for Redman.. Wildcat option please..

d

August 14th, 2012
1:37 pm

he got a couple of bad breaks with throws that were on the money but not caught. he is elusive, too.

ATLSWAG

August 14th, 2012
1:55 pm

9th…I say start Davis with the 1st team unit and see what he can do at least 5-10 plays during the pre-season games..he has a better arm and is quicker then ryan just saying #future QB

Nique

August 14th, 2012
2:13 pm

D-Led

can you see if there’s any interest in bringing in Jeff Demps, the former Gator & recent silver medalist. He’s just declared he wants to play in the NFL & he could be our KR & a screen specialist for us. I also think he could beat out Smith for that last rb spot, you can never have to much speed & unlike a lot of track guys, this guy has shown he can play football!

thouhtful

August 14th, 2012
2:24 pm

I love Demps too, he will help the BIRDS go to the SUPER BOWL, can take it to the house but I don’t think TD will, too conservative!!!!!

Surg

August 14th, 2012
2:35 pm

Ryan needs a good backup and this guy is it….we could build him up and trade him to another team that needs a starter. ATL SWAG stop trolling Ryan is a top 5 NFC QB Davis got a ways to go to get to top 20…

BK

August 14th, 2012
2:38 pm

PARKER NEEDS TO GO TO THE HOUSE AND GIVE DAVIS A SHOT IF HE DOES WELL IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF PRESEASON GAMES
DAVIS IS FAST AND HAS A GREAT ARM…

Mr. Hankey

August 14th, 2012
3:06 pm

It’s a no brainer. JPW is NOT an NFL quarterback. There has been a decent Tide QB since Namath. Redmen was — WAS — serviceable a couple of years ago, but we’re sunk if he or JPW are out backup guys which makes me glad I bought cheap seats this year. Not sure if “Dom” is the right guy, but he looked pretty good Thurs. I wholly support replaced either or the former backups with him. Hell, I’d take Tebow over JPW or Redman.

rick

August 14th, 2012
3:08 pm

Davis is great with a lot of potential…..He needs to work on his touch as he throws a bullet everytime……If you look at the balls that were dropped last thursday, they were on the money but thrown really hard……..I would put him ahead of wilson and challenging redman…….he is definately a long ball threat…….and has long term potential on the team

with that being said, I would mind putting him on the trading block for a mike or potentially a decent left tackle…if there are any out there

rick

August 14th, 2012
3:09 pm

I wouldnt mind trading him that is

Mike is Back

August 14th, 2012
3:11 pm

Dled, I liked what I seen against Raven, I hope gets a real shot at making squad.

Chesty LaRue

August 14th, 2012
3:36 pm

How are we assuming Davis is more mobile?

Paddy

August 14th, 2012
3:36 pm

rick…….don’t blieve an undrafted, no experience QB like Dom has any trade value. Let alone getting a NFL starting quality player for him. Best he stays in ATL and work that potetial idea for the time being. If he goes to the practice squad, any team can just sign him and not give up a player.

Loyal Falcon

August 14th, 2012
3:41 pm

I’m so hoping that Dom takes Redman’s spot as the back up behind Matt. See ya JPW!

SirReal

August 14th, 2012
3:45 pm

There is no way JPW should beat this guy out for at least the 3rd spot. His time has come and gone. He’s garbage. Cut the cord and let a new guy actually develop for a change.

hiramsaint

August 14th, 2012
3:56 pm

arty is setting the cards for next season- a replacement for matty melt in the wings and an eyeball on the saints asst. coaches to replace the peroxide bandit after failing to make the post season or failing to score an offensive point if he happens to eeeeeeeeeek his way in

mountain_jim

August 14th, 2012
4:05 pm

Well I wanted to see him play in that first game but the NFL network replay of the game cut out minutes of the 4th to fit it in 3 hours.

So I look forward to seeing Davis in this week’s national tv game.

I hope he earns a spot on the team as well. With Mularkey gone he has a better chance, I bet.

Steve

August 14th, 2012
4:09 pm

I sure hope Davis makes the team and they at least cut JPW. I am tired of hearing JOHN PARK WILSON after every play! :)

Sick &Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 14th, 2012
4:17 pm

Currently with Redman and Wilson as the backups the Falcons won’t have a chance if anything happens to Ryan.

In the first preseason game Redman was AWFUL!!! He continues to have a problem throwing passes over the opposing team’s defensive linemen. JPW wasn’t much better but he did have the drive for the field goal.

Hopefully Davis can rise to the occasion during the remaining preseason games and make the team and not just the practice squad.

Gina K

August 14th, 2012
4:25 pm

Why is there still a competition at QB? JPW is garbage…. I still cant figure out why he even made this squad. Redman is garbage as well….If Ryan gets hurt, we are done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Send JPW back to Tuscaloosa to be an assistant coach at a middle school or something. Redman; well, I am in need of a good insurance salesman…… Davis is the only real hope we have as a backup QB…

Ed

August 14th, 2012
4:31 pm

Davis look better than JPW OR Redman

teamguy

August 14th, 2012
4:38 pm

JPW was a favorite of Mularkey’s. . .will soon be gone.

Hamp

August 14th, 2012
4:50 pm

We need to sign a vet QB #2 and let Dom be the 3. Redman and JPW need pink slips. Move on!

steven a smith

August 14th, 2012
5:06 pm

Christine Redman is “washed up.” John Parker ought to be selling Insurance. Dude is not an NFL QB.

rick

August 14th, 2012
5:10 pm

@Paddy….hear ya…just saying if he has a decent pre season…someone might be willing to pick him up……long shot …but Im thinking we will pick someone else from a cut…..

falconjonk

August 14th, 2012
5:34 pm

One thing for sure Davis is cheaper than Chris Redmon and John Parker Wilson

U Cant B Serious

August 14th, 2012
5:57 pm

Best #2 Option We Have. Stevie Wonder can see that.

Thomas Dimitroff sux

August 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

We need to KEEP Redman, CUT Parker Wilson, KEEP Davis on the Practice Squad

realitycheck

August 14th, 2012
6:58 pm

JPW was one of the worst QBs in Tide history considering the number of starts. Until his senior year, he was 0-8 as a starter vs Florida(0-1), Uga(0-1), Lsu(0-2), Auburn(0-2), and worst of all Mississippi State(0-2), and he single handedly gave one of the Msu games away. Yes, he didn’t play on the best of Tide teams, but he was often a big part of the problem. He also lost to Louisiana Monroe, and nearly gave away a game vs Houston. He may hold a bunch of Bama passing records, but only because he had so many starts with many attempts. He was never a winner, and was too worried about his hair looking pretty. What the heck have the Falcons ever seen in him?

wayner

August 14th, 2012
7:06 pm

redomond sucks,just sittting there getting that money.

Esquire

August 14th, 2012
7:16 pm

Folks, don’t kid yourselves…………..Redman has been genius as a backup QB, the price is right too. I see Davis beating out Billy Bob Joe Tom John Parker Wilson for the 3rd spot. The kid lit it up at ECU

DR. FALCON

August 14th, 2012
7:27 pm

JOHN PARKER WILSON, & CHRIS REDMAN, NEED TO BE RELEASED! DAVIS, WILL BE OUR TIM TEBOW! THIS IS A COMPETITIVE LEAGUE, AND REDMAN, & WILSON, HAVE DONE NOTHING TO WARRANT A SPOT ON THE ROSTER! ESPECIALLY, WILSON!

SirReal

August 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

Well looks like the consensus here is that JPW is garbage and should be gone. I agree. Esquire is right. The brass isnt gonna get rid of Redman b/c of the price…BUT they should let Davis push him for the backup QB. Some media outlets are suggesting that Davis is probably a candidate for the practice squad. Thats a freakin insult to that man’s talent. He’s lightyears ahead of JPW. I went to the Branch and saw them with my own eyes. JPW stunk it up as usual and Davis performed quite well. All he needs is a little more touch on his throws and the guy has real potential. Let’s just hope if he sticks that we actually develop him for a change…something this organization really doesnt do a good job of….

[...] The rest of the article can be found here: Atlanta Falcons [...]

Nite Owl

August 14th, 2012
9:00 pm

@Runner-

You may be long gone by now, but your 1:31pm post made me do a spit take with my beer. The only sense in which Kyle Orton is “legitimate” is that his parents were married when he was born. Dude lost his starting job to a rookie Tim Tebow. No, no, no. Just no.

@hiramsaint:

Your 3:56pm post is so wrong, on so many levels. I know you troll hard, but it works best when you keep it simple. From what I can tell, and I’m using my “Hiramsaint Decoder Ring” here, you are suggesting that Arthur Blank is looking at Saints assistant coaches to replace Dimitroff. Even for you, that’s just too much.

As for the QBs, I have to agree that JPW has not developed enough, and that Davis’ stock will continue to rise throughout the preseason. I’m not ready to give up on Red Man yet, though, because he’s been a good backup. I don’t think he’s lost it just yet, but again, three more games to evaluate him. Can’t replace a vet with a rookie at No. 2 QB just yet.

Nite Owl

August 14th, 2012
10:49 pm

Self-edit:

Tim Tebow was not a rookie last year. (Slaps forehead) But still.

If only there was some kind of media coverage of him, so I could find out more about him. Then I wouldn’t make a mistake like that again.

jaz

August 14th, 2012
10:55 pm

Redman is going to be Ryan’s backup for sure. JPW and Redman have both been around long enough to have reached their potentials, and neither looks real good. JPW’s biggest problem as I see it is his tendency to panic when he gets under pressure, and then his game falls apart. I saw that last year. While Davis is just starting out, he has shown he has the strong arm, mobility, fluidity and lack of fear that bodes well. He hasn’t had time to develop touch on his passes or even know the playbook, but that will come shortly. I would like to see Dominique replace JPW soon.

Riisssee up? As usual, Fall Down!

August 14th, 2012
10:59 pm

Saints win the SB this year…

Falclowns watch from home….

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 14th, 2012
11:15 pm

Mike is Back – I think he’ll get a good shot.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 14th, 2012
11:16 pm

Nique — I will check on Demps. I saw the post about him on NFL.com today.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 14th, 2012
11:18 pm

prepdaa – He threw a couple of nice deep balls today in practice. One was to Tim Toone. Look for them to cut him loose on Thursday.

Blake

August 15th, 2012
2:46 am

@hiramsaint…I’m your huckleberry…! as for Payton and the rest of those suspended clowns…In the words of the Immortal Doc Holiday….You ain’t no daisy’s…poor souls…They we’re just too high strung…I’m afraid the strain was more than they could bear…!

[...] Dominique Davis and Matt Ryan reunited [...]