Rookie quarterback Feleipe Franks showed off his legs in Atlanta's loss to the Tennessee Titans. After what looked to be a promising performance, could the rookie from Arkansas actually start for the Falcons against the Miami Dolphins?
That's a conversation Falcons' coach Arthur Smith is considering.
“They are on different levels,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said of Franks and veteran A.J. McCarron on Monday. “We’ll assess it at the end of the week and then we’ll see who’ll take the first half and who will take the second half assuming that we don’t play Matt (Ryan). Right now, the plan is to play both of those guys again Saturday.”
Ryan, the team's franchise quarterback and obvious Week 1 starter, did not play against the Titans. That said, Smith is leaving the door open for him to perhaps get a series or two in the second preseason game.
“We may say hey, we want to see a couple series out of Matt Ryan,” Smith said. “But we’ll let you guys know Thursday night.”
Of the two quarterbacks last Friday night, Franks offered more value as a dual-threat option. He recorded four rushes for 76 yards, including a 52-yard run in the fourth quarter.
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As a passer, his numbers weren't great, going 2 of 9 passing for 16 yards and a 39.6 passer rating.
McCarron, who enters his eighth season, fared only slightly better as a passer, completing five of 12 for 36 yards and an interception - good for an ugly 14.6 passer rating.
Smith praised Franks for his ability to make something out of nothing, a trait that could give him a realistic shot at making the final 53-man roster.
“He made some plays,” Smith said. “He proved that he can escape. He’s got some natural ability and now there are some things that we need him to clean up operationally, pass protection wise.”
There wasn't one quarterback who cost Atlanta the victory at home. Instead, Smith is trusting the offense to figure things out entering a pivotal week.
“You can sit there, convert a third down and it’s called back because of pre-snap alignment," Smith said. "Just continually put you behind the sticks. You have to see how they react. It snow balls on you. So, we anticipate it to be much better this week from AJ.”
The Falcons will travel to Hard Rock Stadium to face Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins Saturday evening at 7.