FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Once again, Dominique Davis is the new quarterback in camp, marveling at the work of established starter Matt Ryan.
And Ryan is still impressed with the play of Davis.
Davis began his college career at Boston College, where he was redshirted in Ryan’s 2007 senior season.
Now Ryan and Davis, an undrafted rookie free agent from East Carolina, are together again with the Atlanta Falcons.
“Right back with him,” Davis said Monday. “It’s déjà vu, pretty much. I’ll just do the same thing I was doing as a freshman at BC, just learn from him.”
The Falcons opened training camp with Davis the fourth-string quarterback behind Ryan, Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson.
Davis looked like a candidate for the practice squad. Instead, he’s pushing for a roster spot as he could compete to be Ryan’s top backup.
Davis has surprised some with his strong arm and accuracy in the Falcons’ first two preseason games, prompting speculation he could push the 35-year-old Redman for the top backup job.
Ryan knew what to expect.
“I’ve been impressed with him but not surprised,” Ryan said Monday.
“He came in my fifth year at Boston College, and he was a talented kid who worked hard. I was excited when I found out they were going to bring him in here, because I knew he was a good person.”
Coach Mike Smith had a strong compliment for Davis on Monday.
“Dominique has improved immensely from our rookie minicamp,” Smith said. “He’s probably shown the most improvement of any member of our football team. He’s getting a better understanding when he’s had his opportunities to perform. He’s done a nice job.”
Davis (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) has good size and also showed good mobility as he moved out of the pocket and avoided tacklers before finding receivers in the Falcons’ 24-19 preseason loss to the Bengals on Thursday night.
Davis, playing late in the game, completed his first eight passes and finished 11 of 18 for 121 yards with a touchdown.
The rookie said he’s again taking notes from watching Ryan, just as he did at Boston College.
“I always try to look in the future and envision myself being a great player, but just by watching him and the things he was doing, it was amazing,” Davis said. “I was just trying to repeat the things he was doing.”
Davis passed for 7,192 yards and 62 touchdowns the past two years at East Carolina.
Smith said he’ll let the best player win the backup job.
“Whoever the best backup guy is, whether he’s a 10-year vet or a rookie, is going to be our backup quarterback. I think you have to go out and let the play on the field be the evaluator.”