Big night for backup quarterbacks

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.

The Falcons, Bucs and Panthers all start their preseason schedules tonight and each team has major questions at quarterback. Here's a look.


Chris Redman will start, but that may be nothing more than a courtesy to the veteran. The real story here is rookie Matt Ryan. The Falcons are going to use the preseason to decide if they should throw Ryan into the starting lineup immediately. They pretty much know what they have in Redman, but this will be Ryan's first look under game conditions. This game also is important for Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley, who are battling for the No. 3 job.


This will be Jake Delhomme's first game action in more than 10 months. All indications are he's fine after having Tommy John elbow surgery. He's looked good in camp and said his elbow feels better than it has in several seasons. Don't expect Delhomme to play very long tonight because the Panthers don't want to overwork him and they want to take long looks at Matt Moore and Brett Basanez. Moore has the lead in the backup battle after a strong showing at the end of last year, but Basanez remains in the mix.


There will be a lot of scouts in Miami tonight because the rest of the league will be keeping an eye on Tampa Bay's quarterbacks, particularly Chris Simms and Brian Griese, who could be available for trade. Luke McCown will start because Jeff Garcia's out with an injury and Brett Favre landed with the Jets. The Bucs want to take a look at McCown, who could end up as the No. 2 quarterback. But they may not play him too long because they want to give the rest of the league a look at Simms and Griese. Simms might get the most playing time because the Bucs want to show everyone else he's healthy. Rookie Josh Johnson could get some snaps late, but the Bucs are more concerned with showcasing Simms and Griese.