- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter
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But what if the worse-case scenario evolves and Ryan is unable to play the entire way? Then what happens to the Falcons' chances?
It's something to consider when you take into account Ryan was the most-pressured quarterback in the league this past season. Although he refused to complain about it publicly, Ryan was a lot more beat up at season's end than he let on to be.
The Falcons would help Ryan's cause by securing better protection up front either via free agency or through the draft. They might add a little insurance at quarterback, too.
Dominique Davis is Ryan's backup, and Davis probably deserved more reps at the end of 2013 as Ryan continued to get pummeled. Instead, Davis patiently watched from the sideline and continued to work hard at practice daily.
Although Davis seems very capable of running the offense, the Falcons no doubt are looking around for veteran help just in case. Last season, when Davis suffered a knee injury, they brought in Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards, although neither was signed.
Remember, Davis injured his knee against Tampa Bay after Ryan was pulled during a blowout loss. The Falcons didn't have a third option because rookie seventh-round pick Sean Renfree (shoulder) was on injured reserve.
The Falcons shouldn't give up on Davis by any means. Still, the Falcons need to improve their depth up and down the roster.
One veteran quarterback's name came up during the Senior Bowl, but he wasn't mentioned by the Falcons. Apparently, this player still has admirers within the Falcons organization.
Luke McCown, 6-4, 217, QB, New Orleans Saints
Draft history: 4th round of 2004 (by Cleveland) out of Louisiana Tech
Career games/starts: 38/9
The word: McCown was with the Falcons during the 2012 season, replacing backup Chris Redmond during Dirk Koetter's first season as offensive coordinator. He also played under Koetter in Jacksonville, so there's an obvious familiarity with the system. McCown's stop in Atlanta was sandwiched between two stints with the Saints. He played just 16 snaps in New Orleans this past season.
If the Saints don't re-sign McCown, it would seem only natural for the Falcons to investigate the possibility of adding him to the roster. Not to mention the McCown name is hot in the NFL right now based on the success Josh McCown, Luke's brother, had with the Chicago Bears in place of the injured Jay Cutler this past season.
Wednesday: In a rush to come home?
One oddsmaker has the Atlanta Falcons at 25-1 to win next year's Super Bowl. It's a sure bet those odds depend on Matt Ryan calling the shots at quarterback for the duration of the season.