Davis impresses in Falcons' 24-14 loss to Jaguars

Associated Press Published: August 31, 2012
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons got a lengthy look at third-string quarterback Dominique Davis.

Coach Mike Smith liked what he saw.

Davis completed 14 of 24 passes for 175 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, in a 24-14 loss at Jacksonville in the preseason finale Thursday night.

"I thought he handled it well," Smith said.

The Falcons cut Chris Redman earlier in the week and signed Luke McCown to be Matt Ryan's backup. Redman spent five seasons with the Falcons, the last four as Ryan's little-used reserve. Redman struggled in the preseason, completing just 53 percent of his passes with one interception.

McCown stayed on the sideline against the Jaguars, giving Davis a chance to make a final impression. Davis held his own against Jacksonville's starters early and later found Kevin Cone for a 49-yard scored that tied the game at 14 in the third quarter.

"It was a learning experience for me," Davis said. "I still have to improve a lot, the speed of the game, making good reads, throws. I'm confident it will come. I've been improving since I first got to camp, and I'll keep working at it."

The teams took vastly different approaches to the game. The Jaguars (3-1) played their offensive starters into the second quarter; the Falcons (1-3) sat their offensive stars and played most of their defensive regulars just one play. Two starters — linebacker Akeem Dent and defensive tackle Peria Jerry — played considerably more.

"We felt we got enough work done with those guys in the first three games," Smith said. "We told them they were going to play one series and they got it. It was quick and short."

The results hardly showed that.

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert fumbled on the opening play. Trying to pitch to Rashad Jennings, Gabbert's toss hit fullback Greg Jones in the backside. The Falcons recovered, and Jacquizz Rodgers scored on the next play. Gabbert and his fellow starters stayed in for 25 plays, including an 18-play drive that ended on an errant fourth-down pass, but failed to score.

"Whenever you can string together that many plays is a positive," Gabbert said. "We'd like to finish that with a touchdown, of course. But the ability to execute for 10 or 11 minutes consecutively is pretty good."

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