Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.
Luke McCown doesn’t see many obstacles in his transition to backup quarterback with the Falcons. McCown spent three seasons in Jacksonville when new Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was on staff.
It’s been a whirlwind week after McCown was released by the Saints last Monday. He got a call from the Falcons to join the team the next day after they released Chris Redman. He arrived in Atlanta in time to travel to Jacksonville for final exhibition game, although he did not play. McCown got in his first practice Monday.
“There are some similarities,” McCown said of the offenses. “A lot of the verbiage that we use is different than we had in Jacksonville. That part of it is transitioning your mind from what you used to call it to what [starter] Matt [Ryan] likes to call it here. That shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle.”
Coach Mike Smith acknowledged that McCown needs to get up to speed with the Falcons playbook. He declined to say whether McCown will be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback behind Ryan for Sunday’s season opener at the Chiefs. Dominique Davis, an undrafted rookie free agent, beat out John Parker Wilson for one of the three quarterback spots.
“There are some differences and there are some small nuances that we put in the 2012 Atlanta Falcons playbook, and they’re different than what they’ve done in the past,” Smith said. “We’ve got to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. He’s been spending extra time with[quarterbacks] coach [Glenn] Thomas and coach Koetter. Most of the players were off [over the weekend], but we had guys that have been in here the last couple of days and I can assure you Luke has been one of them. He’s working to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible.”
McCown said he welcomes the opportunity to offer Ryan another veteran perspective and the chance to mentor Davis.
“This is my ninth year in the league,” McCown said. “I’ve been around a lot of football. I’ve seen a lot. There are some things that I can hopefully bring to the table in the meeting room that will help Matt take it to the next level. In the meantime, Matt and I will team up on the young kid and bring him up to speed.”
The decision to release Redman was not easy, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The veteran spent the past five seasons with the Falcons, the last four behind Ryan. In the end, McCown’s familiarity with Koetter and his offense was the determining factor in the roster move.
Still, the release of Redman caught Falcons players by surprise.
“It’s tough,” center Todd McClure said. “He was a guy who was close to a lot of people in here. It’s the toughest part of this business. That’s why my wife said she stopped making friends in the NFL because as soon as she would get close to somebody, they are gone. That was the tough part for her. That is the part that will never change. It will also be tough.
“There always are surprises. We talk about that all the time. You think you’ve got it figured out and you have your mind set on what the roster is going to be and, every year, there is something that throws it off. That’s not our job. Our job is to go out and play. The guys upstairs get paid to make those decisions.”
- Chris Vivlamore
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