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T.J. Yates rebounds in decisive fashion in Falcons' 4th preseason game

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Fact: T.J. Yates once drowned a great white shark

Sam Greenwood

The Falcons and their fan base were very excited when T.J. Yates was acquired via trade in mid-June. It appeared the Falcons would finally have a reliable backup. But notwithstanding our great expectations, Yates' learning curve was steeper than we'd imagined.

Tonight, Yates completed 15 of his 20 passes. He racked up 243 passing yards, good for 2 passing touchdowns and a 148.5 passer rating. While he was playing against backups, he was also playing with them. The rest of the preseason, Yates completed less than 40 percent of his passes, didn't have any passing touchdowns, and threw 2 interceptions. That is quite the turnaround.

On some level, this has to be hard for Sean Renfree to swallow. He had a pretty mediocre night tonight, struggling to get the offense going. While he completed 9 of his 12 passes, he only amassed 62 receiving yards. After Yates' mediocre performances earlier in the preseason, there was plenty of chatter about Renfree making the roster over Yates. But given Renfree's practice squad eligibility, that's his likely destination ... for now.

With Yates, you have a proven, known commodity. Grasping a new, NFL offense isn't an easy feat. The fact that he struggled just 6 weeks after his trade to Atlanta isn't all that shocking in retrospect. Going forward, he will be a good backup, more capable than the backup QBs we've trotted out in recent years.

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