If you watched the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, seeing the Falcons lose late in the fourth quarter likely wasn’t your only takeaway. Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub started the game for Atlanta, and was quickly replaced by second-year quarterback Kurt Benkert.
It’s worth remembering that this is essentially a glorified exhibition game, but many fans were likely not expecting any sort of controversy at the backup quarterback position. Benkert looked solid before leaving with an injury, going 19 of 34 for 185 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Schaub re-entered the game to finish it out for Atlanta, and the team lost. The loss wasn’t solely his fault, but he finished four of 14 for 10 yards and an interception. Again, it was only one game, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I expected more from a veteran quarterback entering his 15th NFL season.
Schaub’s best season came a full decade ago, when he threw for 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns against 15 picks with the Texans in 2009. He’s spent the last three seasons in Atlanta as Ryan’s backup, playing in seven games and going six of 10 for 36 yards. Benkert, an undrafted free agent out of Virginia in 2018, finished last preseason 28 of 64 for 347 yards, no touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Ultimately, there are still four more meaningless games to go, so Schaub has time to improve, but last night was certainly an ugly start. On the positive side, Benkert has the potential to back up Matt Ryan for years to come.