M. Ryan Named to Start Falcons' Third Preseason Game

Prized rookie Matt Ryan gets his chance this week to prove he should be the Atlanta Falcons' starting quarterback from the outset of the regular season.

He is to start Friday's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

There's little question that Ryan, chosen third overall in the NFL draft in April out of Boston College, will be the Falcons' starter at some point this season.

He not only was the first quarterback taken in the draft; he also faces little real competition for the job on a team still reeling from the indefinite suspension and imprisonment of Michael Vick.

But the question for Falcons first-year coach Mike Smith is whether it would be wise to install Ryan as the starter immediately or wait a while.

It is by far the biggest decision that the rookie head coach will make this season after inheriting a club that appears headed nowhere fast.

Smith's other options at the position aren't particularly attractive: The other quarterbacks on the roster are Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley. But one of them could be used as the temporary starter if Smith and his assistants deem that Ryan could benefit from some waiting and watching at the outset of the regular season.

By Mark Maske |  August 19, 2008; 10:44 AM ET  | Category:  Falcons
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