ATLANTA - AUGUST 19: Quarterback John Parker Wilson #4 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass during the preseason game against the New England Patriots at the Georgia Dome on August 19 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. The Patriots beat the Falcons 28-10. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Based on your feedback, we're tackling the third quarterback situation. Turn up your Survivor CD!
Today's melee involves two men duking it out for the right to perch on the depth chart behind beloved backup Chris Redman. The first is an entrenched former undrafted free agent with an arm like fusilli and a brain like a supercomputer. The other is a rookie undrafted free agent whose only real flaw in this smitten blogger's eyes is that he doesn't have the experience.
It is a battle worthy of a breakdown. Head over the jump and we'll get right to it.
JPW is a man who beats the odds.
An undrafted free agent out of Alabama, JPW was known for his noodly arm and high football IQ coming out of college. He latched on with the Falcons in 2009, beating out D.J. Shockley for the third quarterback slot. He's been there ever since, quietly learning. Waiting. Watching.
Let's get this out of the way: JPW lacks the physical skills to be a big-game starting quarterback. His arm isn't strong enough and based on his college performance, he's not a guy who is immune to pressure. So it's pretty clear the Falcons aren't keeping him around to succeed Matt Ryan someday.
Then again, who cares? JPW is smart as a whip, manages games well and is very accurate on short-to-medium passes. In many ways, he's a poor man's Chris Redman, and if he's overcome the pocket challenges he sometimes had in college, perhaps he is Rojohombre reborn.
Given that, JPW is likely to stick on this roster again in 2011. The coaching staff likes him enough that they'll keep him around, continue to groom him and hope he can be the team's long-term backup or at least third-stringer. As he's on a one-year restricted deal, he'll have a lot to prove on the practice field. If he gets in games...well, something went terribly wrong.
My UDFA crush of the off-season. Froman was a scouts' darling before the draft, but those three glorious days came and went without him getting a call.
Froman is, in many ways, exactly the kind of backup quarterback you want. He's well-regarded for his football smarts, well-known for his pocket presence and lauded for his athleticism. Like JPW, Froman's arm isn't the strongest, and his accuracy is considered to be very good.
So what's keeping Froman from knocking JPW out? The learning curve and the injuries, in essence. Froman was knocked down with injuries a few times in college, giving him a less than full full body of work and sending up red flags in front offices across the league. He's also got to learn the offense in weeks, where JPW has had two years in the system and has held on like a barnacle through various sundry challenges. It's going to be tough for Froman to get past that.
That said, don't count him out. Whether he makes it to the practice squad—where I hope some other team won't steal him—or surprises and makes the final roster, Froman has a great chance to be a valuable backup down the line. With the exception of arm strength, he's the total package.
Your opinion on this epic battle of quarterbacks?