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Falcons notebook
Falcons aren't saying which backup will play first in preseason opener

FLOWERY BRANCH - Chris Redman or D.J. Shockley? The Atlanta Falcons aren't saying how they'll use their backup quarterbacks in Friday night's preseason opener.

With Michael Vick sidelined by dogfighting charges, Joey Harrington is the Falcons' undisputed starter. He'll likely take 10 to 12 snaps against the New York Jets - as will the remaining regulars - then give way to the backups.

Redman and Shockley are competing for the No. 2 job, and the status of their battle will likely be revealed in the way they're used in New York.

Coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday that he's still working on the quarterback rotation.

Shockley is certainly the fan favorite, having led Georgia to the 2005 Southeastern Conference championship. He spent his entire rookie season with the Falcons on the bench, backing up Vick and the since-traded Matt Schaub.

'He always works hard and he is a joy to be around,' Petrino said. 'Certainly he has done a nice job for the state of Georgia.'

Redman is the more experienced of the two, having played four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. But he sat out the last three seasons, his only experience coming during training camp with the Tennessee Titans in 2005.

While Redman is a pure dropback passer, Shockley's mobility forces the Falcons to be creative when grading his performances.

'His grade comes with the live rush and the live reps that he gets,' Petrino said. 'One of the things he has going for him is his ability to run, move and make plays when everything else breaks down.'

If anything, Petrino wants Shockley to be more aggressive when the pocket breaks down.

'I would like to see him burst out and sprint downfield for 30 yards,' the coach said, referring to a play in Wednesday morning's practice. 'We saw him move in the hole but he still wanted to throw it. He has to understand that moving around is one of his strengths.'

Bland offense

While Bobby Petrino was known for his high-powered offense at Louisville, he won't be revealing many of his best plays in the first game of the preseason.

'We will keep it very basic,' the coach said with a sly grin.

The Falcons will stick with the plays they put in during the first and second days of training camp, merely the foundation of Petrino's extensive playbook.

'We need the confidence to be established in terms of what we are working toward in our identity,' Petrino said. 'We want the confidence established in the timing of our passing game and when we run the ball.

'It is still a work in progress.'

Taylor impresses

Tony Taylor, who wasn't drafted after a productive but injury-plagued career at Georgia, is impressing the coaches with his work at middle linebacker.

Taylor is contending for playing time with Orlando Huff, a seven-year veteran who signed with the Falcons in late June. Keith Brooking is the starter.

'I like Tony and he's done a nice job,' coach Bobby Petrino said. 'He's getting a lot of reps in there. Some of it is because Orlando Huff is new. He was not here for any of the offseason (workouts). The coaches are rotating Orlando while he learns the defense. I know that we like Tony. He is very smart and he really picks up new things right away.'

The Falcons are eager to see how the 6-foot, 237-pound Taylor stacks up physically.

'His test is going to be physical play, stopping the run and running to the ball,' Petrino said. 'He is certainly in the mix. There is no doubt about that.'

No nerves

Petrino looks calm and collected as he prepares for his first game as an NFL head coach.

The same can't be said for some of his players.

'I hope I don't hyperventilate like some of the rookies do,' the coach joked. 'I think I will be OK out there, but I'm looking forward to seeing them play.'