FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons have a new backup for Matt Ryan.
Chris Redman, who spent the last four seasons as Atlanta's No. 2 quarterback, was released Tuesday so the team could sign Luke McCown.
McCown spent the past three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, making two starts among his eight appearances. He worked with Dirk Koetter, who is now the Falcons' offensive co-ordinator, which undoubtedly contributed to the decision to bring in someone new to back up Ryan.
Originally a fourth-round pick by Cleveland in 2004, McCown also played with Tampa Bay. He signed with New Orleans before the start of training camp this year, but was cut by the Saints on Monday.
One day later, he had a new team.
Redman spent five seasons with the Falcons, the last four as Ryan's little-used reserve. Redman struggled in the preseason, completing just 53 per cent of his passes with one interception.
The signing of McCown completes a shake-up at the quarterback position behind Ryan. Last weekend, Atlanta (No. 13 in APPro32) released third-stringer John Parker Wilson, deciding rookie free agent Dominique Davis had more upside after a promising preseason.
"Dominique has done a very nice job," coach Mike Smith said. "He's made plays when he's had opportunities. When you tell guys you're going to have an open competition, you want guys to come out and compete and that's what he's done. You want to have that competition when you build your roster because that's how you get your strongest roster."
Redman, it turned out, was competing with someone who wasn't even on the roster. The Falcons were concerned about how much the offence would drop off if they lost Ryan for a significant amount of time, so they decided to go with McCown. Also, the new backup is four years younger than the 35-year-old Redman.
"We want our guys to compete until the very end," Smith said. "It's a tough time of year."
The Falcons (1-2) close out the preseason at Jacksonville (2-1) on Thursday.