Falcons to see what they have in QB Yates

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
8:45
AM ET
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons traded for quarterback T.J. Yates in June with hopes of solidifying the backup quarterback position behind Matt Ryan.

Yates
It's been hard to determine Yates' value so far just based on training camp practices. He is still working on his timing with the receivers. And it's not like he's getting extended reps with Julio Jones and Roddy White.

But Yates should see his share of time during Friday night's exhibition against the Miami Dolphins, considering Ryan is likely to play only one series.

Coach Mike Smith was asked if Yates had enough of a grasp of the offense to carry through a game.

"He absolutely does," Smith responded. "In the preseason, we’ve been in an install mode. We haven’t installed our entire package yet, but we’ve been in install mode since the first day of training camp. When we go play this game, we’re going to really condense it down. We’re going to have a game plan. We want these guys to go out and compete. We want them to be assured that they’re going to run the plays that they know they can run.

"We’re not going to throw some exotics at them and things like that. We’re going to do a great job as a coaching staff in evaluating the plays that we feel comfortable with, and we’re going to let them run those plays so we can get a good evaluation."

The Falcons traded linebacker Akeem Dent to the Houston Texans for Yates, then dumped Dominique Davis, last season's backup quarterback. Sean Renfree and rookie Jeff Mathews also are in the quarterback mix in camp.

And speaking of the trade, Yates will face his old teammates next week as the Falcons travel to Houston for joint practices before next Saturday's exhibition at NRG Stadium. One of his former Houston teammates offered a glimpse of what to expect if Yates is ever called upon to spell Ryan.

"Quality quarterback," said safety Danieal Manning, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. "T.J. is a jack-of-all-trades quarterback. He's not going to 'wow' you, but he can beat you."

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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