The Falcons have to feel good about having Matt Ryan as their starting quarterback.
The fifth-year pro, nicknamed "Matty Ice," has proven that, while he might be a step below the NFL's elite of Aaron Rodgers, Dree Brees and Tom Brady, he can definitely get the ball to Atlanta's playmakers at wide receiver, Roddy White and Julio Jones. Last season, Ryan passed for 4,177 yards with 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading Atlanta to a 10-6 record and an NFC wild-card berth.
But what if Ryan gets hurt and is forced to leave Sunday's season opener against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium? That's where things could get murky.
With a new offensive coordinator in former Jacksonville assistant Dirk Koetter, the Falcons last week decided to waive backup quarterback Chris Redman in favor of someone with more experience in Koetter's offense.
Enter former Jaguars backup Luke McCown, a ninth-year pro who was signed shortly after Redman's release.
Head coach Mike Smith declined to say whether McCown or the other QB on the Falcons' roster, undrafted rookie free agent Dominique Davis, would be the No. 2 quarterback behind Ryan on Sunday. It's quite possible McCown would get the nod because of the time he has already spent in Koetter's system, but it's not a given.
"There are some differences and there are some small nuances that we put in the 2012 Atlanta Falcons playbook, and they're different than what they've done in the past," Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
Meanwhile, Redman's release caught some Atlanta teammates by surprise.
"It's tough," center Todd McClure told the Journal-Constitution. "He was a guy who was close to a lot of people in here. It's the toughest part of this business. That's why my wife said she stopped making friends in the NFL, because as soon as she would get close to somebody, they are gone."
McCown, originally drafted by Cleveland, has never started more than four games in a season. Davis starred in college at East Carolina.