The injury occurred during Atlanta’s second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. In the second quarter with still 10 minutes on the clock, McCarron handed the ball off to third-string running back Qadree Ollison and grabbed his knee right after. He struggled to get to the sidelines and never returned.
Following the game, head coach Arthur Smith didn’t know the extent of his injury but could tell it wasn’t good.
“I really feel for AJ McCarron,” Smith told reporters, via ESPN. “Any time something like that happens and it’s non-contact, it’s tough when you know what these guys put into it. I feel for AJ. We’ll obviously get the MRI to confirm but he’s heartbroken.
“He had bounced back and he was out there fighting, fighting for his team and trying to get the extra yards.”
The Alabama product finished the night early completing three of six passes for 43 yards with one run for seven yards.
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Falcons’ Rookie Prepared to Play Backup
With Matt Ryan sitting out and McCarron’s early exit, undrafted rookie quarterback Feleipe Franks was thrown into the fire for the remainder of the game.
Franks ended the night completing four of nine passes for 46 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing three times for 32 yards
The 23-year-old is the only other quarterback the Falcons have on the roster and is confident that he can play the role as Ryan’s primary backup.
“I have full confidence in myself,” Franks said, via AtlantaFalcons.com. “I feel like I’m starting to gain confidence in the group around me. I’m just going to put my head down and go to work. That’s all it’s about, learning from your mistakes. That’s his mindset with just about anything. I do feel like I have the capability to do that job.”
Franks Has a ‘Unique Skillset’
Whether or not Feleipe makes the 53-man roster depends on if the Falcons turn to another veteran but quarterbacks coach Charles London has been a fan of Feleipe from day 1.
“Feleipe has a really unique skill set,” London said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He has a big arm. He’s a really athletic guy. He had traits that as an offensive staff we were excited about and we wanted to work with them. We were thrilled to get him in the undrafted process.”
We saw a glimpse of Franks’ dual-threat ability in the Falcons’ first preseason games against the Titans when he zoomed 51-yards past Tenessee’s defense.
While Franks has flashed signs of greatness, the Falcons will likely sign an experienced veteran to help out Ryan for the 2021 season.