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Should Rookie Franks Be Falcons' No. 2 QB?

When the final whistle blew, Feleipe Franks felt like the safer option as the No. 2 quarterback

Matt Ryan is QB1 for the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. Who is QB2 entering the midway point of training camp? 

Maybe it's rookie Feleipe Franks?

Friday's 23-3 preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans may have complicated the competition to backup Ryan. Veteran A.J. McCarron struggled during the first half, and Franks did little to help in the passing game. Combined, the two QBs threw for only 52 passing yards. 

Franks, however, might have bolstered his status as a rushing option. He tallied 76 yards on just four carries.

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What did the new head coach think?

"With AJ, the operation was a little cleaner, but there were no results behind that because of the entire picture of the offense the first half." Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. "The second half, with Feleipe, we want to be a little better operationally. What Feleipe clearly showed was that he can extend plays. So that was good to see."

It's not as if Atlanta's offensive line gave either quarterback anything to work with. Combined, Franks and McCarron were sacked five times. However, Franks was under a significant amount of more pressure while working with the third-team offensive line. 

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Three sacks could have been six or seven. Instead, Franks' legs allowed him to evade pressure, highlighted by a 52-yard run at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

"If I can't extend the play, I try to stay in the pocket and deliver a good, catchable ball for the receiver," Franks said Friday. "If I have to extend the play with running or getting outside the pocket and throwing, I try to do that as well. I try to be the most complete quarterback I can be."

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Ryan might not playing at all this preseason, meaning Franks and McCarron could duke it out two more times before Week 1 against Philadelphia. Both will need to rebound entering the week before taking on Miami next Saturday. 

McCarron went 5 for 12 for 36 yards.  Franks completed just two passes for 16 yards on nine attempts. The difference though is with the legs.

"Getting the chains moving and getting points on the board," Franks said of his intention. "Our main goal was just managing the offense, leading guys and getting better at third-down conversions. For a lot of those guys, rookies coming out and playing their first NFL game, I thought we did a good job and there's something to improve on heading into next week."

And maybe Franks is a tool to that improvement.

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