It may have taken one outing for the brass of the Atlanta Falcons to finally realize that Joey Harrington simply is not the answer at quarterback if the team is going be close to competitive in the 2007 season. The team told their fans and media time after time this summer when it was well known that Michael Vick would not be back that Harrington was the man for the job. Right. Looking at Harrington’s outing on Sunday, the former first-round pick threw not one, but two passes that were returned for touchdowns in the loss to the Vikings. He was only able to produce three points, as the Falcons laid a big egg, falling 24-3.
The pickings have been slim for Atlanta, as the best QB out there it appears is former Jaguar Byron Leftwich, who remains without a team. The Falcons have said from the word go that they do not want Leftwich, and it appears that remains the case even despite the outing by Harrington Sunday. They also were waiting to see how cutdown day would go, as a few QB’s they were eyeing to get released included Andrew Walter from the Raiders or Mark Brunell from Washington. Neither got let go.
Brunell could likely still be had, as he is the 3rd QB in Washington and might be let go for a 5th or 6th round draft choice. Sure he’s old and seen better days, but right now he is an upgrade over Harrington and his current backup – Chris Redman. As for Walter, now that JaMarcus Russell looks to be in the fold, the Raiders will do something with their QB position, and that means that Walter might be shown the door. If that happens, look for Atlanta to be at the front of the line to grab him.
The Cleveland situation also is one Atlanta continues to watch with great interest. Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye were awful Sunday, and the team looks a lot closer to starting rookie Brady Quinn. They also brought back Ken Dorsey, and he will likely get a contract today, meaning that Frye or Anderson could be let go or traded. Once again, the Falcons will take a look.
Another QB on the board who might come in is former 49’er and Buccaneer QB Tim Rattay. He worked out for Atlanta last week, and ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli states that the Falcons have eyed him for several years. He could be an interesting signing if brought in by the Falcons.
Head coach Bobby Petrino was patient with Harrington before, but as the losses mount, look for that patience to turn into anger and frustration. The thing that bothers me a little bit,” said Petrino, “if you would have said we were 71 percent (passing) and 50 percent on third down, I would say we have a win. That didn’t happen and that’s concerning to me.” As for Harrington, he continues to play it off and believe that he will still have a chance to continue starting. “It’s one game,” Harrington said. “It’s one game with a new offense on the road against the best run defense in the league.” Let one turn into two, and two into three, and Harrington might find himself a warm seat on the bench.