ATLANTA - AUGUST 19: Quarterback John Parker Wilson #4 of the Atlanta Falcons scrambles 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)
This is following up on James' great post about Chris Redman, where he asks if the immortal Rojohombre might be on his way out of Atlanta.
To be clear, that outcome doesn't terrify me. Redman's had a good run as the backup, but he's getting older and was never blessed with top-shelf physical ability in the first place. The Falcons could comfortably get some new blood at the position, I think, though I wouldn't rend my garments if Redman returned for one more season.
What frightens me is the thought of John Parker Wilson becoming Matt Ryan's new backup.
I'm not an overly critical person and not a particularly mean-spirited one, so it's difficult for me to really slam players or coaches. Understand that when I say this: JPW should not get within 1,000 yards of a job that would put him on the field should a catastrophe befall Ryan. In fact, I think it would be disastrous, in the same way that Tony Graziani was diastrous.
Why? It's a combination of JPW's poor performance in pre-season—three straight years and counting!—and his lack of physical tools. Redman bombed out early in his career and came back as a savvy veteran with just enough arm strength to make plays. JPW has always been known for a noodle arm, is not possessed with killer accuracy and is not the most athletic guy on the field. I hear a lot about his football smarts, but if all it took to be a good quarterback was smarts, Einstein wouldn't have washed out of the NFL.
So it's fair to say I'm concerned about the possibility that he'll be caddying for Ryan. The Falcons have a history under the current brain trust of holding on to a handful of players who don't belong on the roster, including the immortal Robert James. I'm all for developing young talent, but JPW has now spent parts of three seasons with the team and has not, to my eyes, shown any particular growth or aptitude that would lead me to believe he'll be a good backup quarterback. As a third, emergency option, sure, but not as the de facto starter in the event of an Ice injury.
If this all sounds unduly harsh, know that I would be delighted if JPW became a quality backup and shoved my face in it. I just think the Falcons should be aiming higher at backup quarterback, and unless JPW has made enormous strides over the last year, I don't think he's a solution. If he's suddenly become the next Redman or more, I'll retract everything I've written here. If he hasn't and the Falcons still cheerfully promote him, they're insane.
Think of this as honest fretting and a kind of reverse jinx should JPW actually get the job. Kindly weigh in with your own thoughts.