Fortunate Falcons? Atlanta facing many backup quarterbacks

FLOWERY BRANCH -- In an NFL season where seemingly no starting quarterback is safe, the Atlanta Falcons have faced their fair share of backup signal-callers.
To recap:

--Week 3: Dallas' Brandon Weeden started for an injured Tony Romo
--Week 4: Ryan Mallet started but was replaced mid-game with Brian Hoyer. Mallet is no longer on an NFL roster
--Week 7: Marcus Mariota was hurt and the Titans started Zach Mettenberger
--Week 9: San Francisco benched Colin Kaepernick and started Blaine Gabbert
--Week 11: Matt Hasselbeck is scheduled to fill in for Andrew Luck, the 3-time Pro Bowler currently sidelined in Indianapolis

All NFL players, including backup quarterbacks, are on rosters because they're capable; but starters are starters for a reason. Falcons defenders are split on whether they've run into some good luck by facing so many teams dealing with quarterback turmoil.

"To be honest, in seasons like this you do need luck," said linebacker O'Brien Schofield. "You do need things to go in your way and your favor. I just think it's a true testament to us not really focusing on that. Really coming out and playing our game, every game, regardless of who's back there. We've lucked out to not face certain guys, but that's just part of football."

Quite a few others bristled at the idea they've been lucky, noting the talent of backups and the fact that several key Atlanta defenders, like safety William Moore, have missed time as well.

"I wouldn't say [it's good luck], man," said Moore. "It's just some of those things that happen throughout the season. Guys get banged up or go down and you have to prepare for that. Being a backup quarterback in the NFL, you have to be ready at all times. Most of those guys were."

Indeed, Gabbert led the 49ers to a win over the Falcons and Brandon Weeden nearly topped Atlanta as he filled in for Romo.

"It don't matter who you're going against, if they're backups, what team they weren't good with, you can't worry about that stuff," said safety Ricardo Allen. "A quarterback comes out ready to play and ready to beat you, you've just got to bring your all."

The Falcons aren't the only team that's faced off with several backups. Around the league, many teams have had to turn to replacements under center either because of injury (you can add Denver and Philadelphia to that group after this upcoming weekend as Peyton Manning and Sam Bradford deal with injuries) or coach's decision (St. Louis jumps in that category this weekend with a plan to bench Nick Foles in favor of Case Keenum).

"It would be a good question as it goes around the league, how many different [quarterbacks] started throughout the league this year," said Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. "That position is such a unique one that each and every team, you spend so much time training the starters, the backups, people who you're developing within the program, when it doesn't click and doesn't feel just right, it can be challenging and hard, and the guys that come through who are the backups, whether they're playing for a short term or a longer part of the season, those guys that come through, man they have a lot of value."

Players on the Falcons defense insist it doesn't matter who takes the snaps -- they prepare more for an opponent's scheme than any one player in particular.

"Regardless of who's in there we still have to come with it and play our brand of football," said cornerback Desmond Trufant.

The Falcons face Indianapolis led by, of course, their backup quarterback on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1pm at the Georgia Dome.

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