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Falcons coaches start process of trimming roster

Georgia star Shockley could be odd man out in QB rotation

By D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER

The Atlanta Journal-Consitution

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flowery Branch — It’s that time of the year.

With NFL rosters needing to be at a maximum of 75 players by early next week, the team’s personnel official — commonly known as The Turk — will make his rounds. His job: to inform players their services are no longer needed and to turn in their playbooks.

“We have a process in place right now,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve had to release some players right now, so we’ve had that process in place. No, we’re not going to bring a secret Turk in when we move down to putting this football team together.”

NFL rosters must be trimmed to 75 players by Tuesday. The Falcons are down to 78 players after releasing wide receiver Joe Horn and linebacker Isaac Brown Tuesday.

One of the more intriguing positions is quarterback. Matt Ryan will start against Tennessee in Friday’s preseason game. Chris Redman started against Jacksonville and Joey Harrington started against Indianapolis.

D.J. Shockley, of College Park and the University of Georgia, has seen mop up duty playing behind reserve lineman. He appears to be the fourth quarterback in a three-horse race.

“Right now, you have to say I’m a three quarterback guy in terms of how we want to put this roster together,” Smith said. “You want to have the security of having a third quarterback on game day.”

Ryan, the team’s quarterback of the future, has taken the bulk of the preseason snaps. The plan is to play him with the starters into the third quarter against the Titans.

If Shockley clears the 75-man hurdle, he could get his best shot to show what he can do in the preseason finale at Baltimore next Thursday.

“We certainly hope to give him an opportunity to play a little bit more extensively earlier in the games as we go through these last two preseason games and give him an opportunity to compete,” Smith said.

Shockley plans to be ready when he gets his major opportunity.

“I’m getting a lot better, day to day,” Shockley said. “The biggest thing is trying to stay consistent throwing the ball and with everything mentally.”

Playing with reserve linemen, Shockley was under extreme duress against Jacksonville and Indianapolis.

“I think he’s done a nice job of picking up the offense,” Smith said. “He didn’t get an opportunity to go through all of the [offseason workouts] because of the recovery from his knee operation. He’s a little bit behind because I think in terms of that he just hasn’t had the reps that the other guys have had.”

While Shockley, who still has some practice squad eligibility, might not be able to move past Redman or Harrington, other players fighting for roster spots are hoping to shine on special teams.

Brandon Miller, another former UGA standout, is trying to make the conversion from linebacker to defensive end.

“I’m just in practice trying to dominate on drills,” Miller said. “As far as the games go, I’m just trying to dominate on special teams. That’s my chance right now as far as making the team.”

Cornerback Wilrey Fontenot, a seventh-round pick from Arizona, is fighting for a spot in a crowded secondary.

“I believe that I’ve shown that I can do whatever it takes to be on this team,” Fontenot said. “It’s not necessary if it’s being a DB, or if it’s being a gunner on kickoffs. Whatever it takes.”

After the Tennessee game, Falcons coaches will review film on Sunday and if they reach “clarity” they won’t likely wait until the Tuesday deadline to get down to 75 players.

The more difficult job will be the following week when they must reach the roster maximum of 53 before the season opener.

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shock will not be gone by the 4th preseason game. he has yet to run with the 1st team offense, and will get his shot to do so. yea he made a couple of bad throws with the 3rd string, but he also made some good throws that were dropped, so him running with the first team offense should make a statement. he will make this team as the 3rd string QB, and joey will be cut.

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shock will not be gone by the 4th preseason game. he has yet to run with the 1st team offense, and will get his shot to do so. yea he made a couple of bad throws with the 3rd string, but he also made some good throws that were dropped, so him running with the first team offense should make a statement. he will make this team as the 3rd string QB, and joey will be cut.

I really don't know how to read the coaching staff's advice to him: "Go back to your old throwing motion." Hmmm...I don't know if that a positive or a negative.

Coach Smith is giving him a chance. He's going to start the last game of the preseason. If he is going to shine, he'd better do it in that game or I think he's going to get cut. Then again, I don't know.

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I think DJ is done. I don't think they would have cut Harrington, then re signed him only to cut him again. Redman, Harrington, Ryan - that's our QBs. Shock may be on the practice squad, I think that's a pretty safe bet. They'll put out some feelers for him at some point to see if anybody is interested though. Just my opinion!

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I think DJ is done. I don't think they would have cut Harrington, then re signed him only to cut him again. Redman, Harrington, Ryan - that's our QBs. Shock may be on the practice squad, I think that's a pretty safe bet. They'll put out some feelers for him at some point to see if anybody is interested though. Just my opinion!

As much as I think Harrington sucks, I would give him the nod over Shockley to to NFL game experience ONLY.

I'd rather go with experience over anything else.

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As much as I think Harrington sucks, I would give him the nod over Shockley to to NFL game experience ONLY.

I'd rather go with experience over anything else.

whats the ratio of the 3rd stringer actually getting some playtime on the field during the season? why would u want a experience dude at 3rd string, when we can hav a young QB in DJ for a very long time so eventually he will become matt ryans backup in the future. why keep drafting QB's and spending money on vets just to be backups? it makes no sense.

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whats the ratio of the 3rd stringer actually getting some playtime on the field during the season? why would u want a experience dude at 3rd string, when we can hav a young QB in DJ for a very long time so eventually he will become matt ryans backup in the future. why keep drafting QB's and spending money on vets just to be backups? it makes no sense.

As someone has already pointed out, the Falcons released Joey and then resigned him for less money.

Plus, at 3rd string, it really wouldn't make a difference if Harrington is kept over Shockley. I really don't see Shockley making it as a backup to Ryan anytime soon or at all.

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As someone has already pointed out, the Falcons released Joey and then resigned him for less money.

Plus, at 3rd string, it really wouldn't make a difference if Harrington is kept over Shockley. I really don't see Shockley making it as a backup to Ryan anytime soon or at all.

so what was the reason shock was kept through his injury??the team could have released him based on that, but obviously they seen some potential in him to keep him around..and as far as your statement goes about him backing up ryan, im looking far into the future about 3-4 years from now. harrington nor redman will be in the league by then. so why waste time drafting another QB to back up ryan or going out to get a vet who is obviously going to have to agree to sit the bench and be a backup. as of right now, redman will back up ryan for another 2-3 years, then eventually shock will be ready for that #2 spot shortly after redmans stint...

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so what was the reason shock was kept through his injury??

Could be a bevy of reasons:

Training camp filler/fodder

PR move by the Falcons front office

New training staff wanting to give a veteran guy who was hurt a chance

I personally think its a combination of all three.

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Could be a bevy of reasons:

Training camp filler/fodder

PR move by the Falcons front office

New training staff wanting to give a veteran guy who was hurt a chance

I personally think its a combination of all three.

to tell you the truth, i really dont care if he makes the roster or not.im jus tired of all the hate towards him, and everybody making it sound like harrington is better then him. harrington is garbage, and hasnt accomplished nothing in his nfl career. DJ's career hasnt really gotten started yet, and being a 7th rounder he has no expectations unlike mr 1st rounder joey harrington. well let me rephrase that. He HAD expectations when detriot drafted him, but he didnt meet those and was ran out of town. DJ has more potential and is younger therefore making him a clear cut candidate to make this team for the long haul. joey wont be in the nfl in 3-4 years, shock will, and will be matt ryans backup for years to come.

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to tell you the truth, i really dont care if he makes the roster or not.im jus tired of all the hate towards him, and everybody making it sound like harrington is better then him. harrington is garbage, and hasnt accomplished nothing in his nfl career. DJ's career hasnt really gotten started yet, and being a 7th rounder he has no expectations unlike mr 1st rounder joey harrington. well let me rephrase that. He HAD expectations when detriot drafted him, but he didnt meet those and was ran out of town. DJ has more potential and is younger therefore making him a clear cut candidate to make this team for the long haul. joey wont be in the nfl in 3-4 years, shock will, and will be matt ryans backup for years to come.

Having a convo about reasons why the guy won't make the team isn't showing hate.

Joey Harrington, due to his past draft status, will keep him in the league longer than Shockley. Every year I think Joey is gone, he shows up somewhere. He's like a virus.

Shockley is getting his chance, but from what he's shown in the past (and it hasn't been much) I would be highly suprised if he beats out Ryan, Redman or Harrington, a new franchise rookie, and two guys with more NFL experience than him.

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Having a convo about reasons why the guy won't make the team isn't showing hate.

Joey Harrington, due to his past draft status, will keep him in the league longer than Shockley. Every year I think Joey is gone, he shows up somewhere. He's like a virus.

Shockley is getting his chance, but from what he's shown in the past (and it hasn't been much) I would be highly suprised if he beats out Ryan, Redman or Harrington, a new franchise rookie, and two guys with more NFL experience than him.

experience dont mean crap..look at dante culpepper, shaun alexander(who is still a free agent by the way), and byron leftwich before he got picked up by the steelers. those 3 guys have more experience, yet they are still struggling to find a team. everyone keeps talking about "THE FUTURE". well the future to me means 3-4 years. do u honestly still see redman or harrington in the nfl in 3-4 years as a falcon? im sorry but i dont. shock hasnt shown much because he basically hasnt had the chance too due to his injury and him playing with 3rd stringers. wait until he gets his chance to start next week, then come holla at me.

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name='crankthatbatman' date='Aug 21 2008, 08:58 AM' post='3857350']

experience dont mean crap..

You can't be serious with that statement, so I'll chalk it up as you getting a tad emotional.

look at dante culpepper, shaun alexander(who is still a free agent by the way), and byron leftwich

All of which have started before in the NFL. More a plus than a negative, that will more than likely have teams consider signing them first before a 7th rounder whose major NFL experiences are in preseason games.

do u honestly still see redman or harrington in the nfl in 3-4 years as a falcon?

As a Falcon, not necessarily. As players in the NFL, yes. I don't see Shockley lasting as an NFL player unless he shows improvement.

shock hasnt shown much because he basically hasnt had the chance too due to his injury and him playing with 3rd stringers. wait until he gets his chance to start next week, then come holla at me.

The only thing I'll be hollering is "I told you so."

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First, there is alot more going on with Shaun Alexander...

Second, Harrington wasn't "run out" of Detroit...he asked to leave.

Third, can someone please tell me why discussing DJ's playing skills and whether or not he'll be on the active roster is "hating" on DJ?

Fourth, 3rd stringers don't always remain 3rd stringers throughout the season...which is why there is some premium put on experience.

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I think it's a bad sign that DJ gets the 4th game where a lot of our starters won't even play at all. I just hope that he and joey make it an easy decision, meaning one guy stands far above the other so we can finally put this to rest. So far, that's nowhere near the case.

3rd string QB, Joey or Shockley, won't see the field regardless.

I would rather we go with two QBs.

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I think it's a bad sign that DJ gets the 4th game where a lot of our starters won't even play at all. I just hope that he and joey make it an easy decision, meaning one guy stands far above the other so we can finally put this to rest. So far, that's nowhere near the case.

didnt he get the last preseason game in the dome last year or was it the 3rd game.

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Shockley is giong to have to present a side of himself that hasn't been seen in order to make the roster. He's going to have to make ACCURATE throws CONSISTENTLY. Being able to throw the ball 60 or 70 yards isn't going to win him any points unless he throws a catchable ball to someone wearing the same color jersey. We have a couple of guys named Norwood and Turner to run the football. Bottom line, when DJ gets his opportunity to start, he's going to have to play like an NFL quarterback which is something he has been unable to do thus far. This is not hate. Shockley hasn't even shown that he can MANAGE a game, which is something a backup should be able to do at a minimum. If DJ makes the team, great. If he doesn't, that's great, too.

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if experience meant a whole lot as you think, chicago would have picked up shaun alexander in a atlanta minute rather then going with matt forte, a rookie.

A player like Alexander, a veteran who will command a decent amount of money will go to a team that is on the verge of the SB, not a team that is rebuilding. The bears are not going to pay Alexander a ton of money to be their running back for the few years they are rebuilding, they can get a young guy to do that. So alexander, if he can still play, would go to a team that is a playoff contender and needs a RB. What team is that? I really can't think of a place Alexander would fit in.

DJ on the other hand has yet to show anything to anyone at the nfl level. DJ has to do something, anything, at least in a preseason game that is positive before we know about him. What probably happens is DJ is retained on the practice squad for this year and when either joey or redman move on next year DJ may get to be third string in 2009. On the practice squad any team can sign him if they are interested in him, but with culpepper out there I don't see any team going after shockley. Miami could have been a potential spot for DJ to land, but that doesn't look like it will be happening now.

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