Fellow Atlanta Falcons QB Reveals Thoughts On Michael Penix Jr.

Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons shocked everyone when they selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. It followed the team signing veteran Kirk Cousins in free agency to a lucrative deal.

The shock was also the feeling guys on the team had. Veteran backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke recently revealed he shared the same feeling as fans and analysts who couldn’t believe the move.

“Obviously, we were all kind of shocked about the pick,” Heinicke said. “But being in this league for 10 years, I’ve kind of seen it all. So, we were shocked for a day or two, but it is what it is.”

The same goes for Cousins, who had a statement released by his agent detailing as much. He was notified by head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Terry Fontenot before the pick was made and was reportedly caught off guard by it.

The arrival of Michael Penix Jr. will change the role for Heinicke. There is a chance he doesn’t make the roster if the Atlanta Falcons opt to keep only two quarterbacks with a third on the practice squad.

Alas, no matter what happens, Michael Penix Jr. has someone to lean on in Heinicke. For as long as he is on the team, Heinicke is going to help the Washington product any way that he can.

“When we’re on the field, if I see him struggling or anything, I’m definitely willing to help him in any way I can,” Heinicke said.

In the early going, it turns out that Michael Penix Jr. didn’t need much help. Heinicke showered praise on the rookie for how he looked during the first month of practice when veterans were present with their new teammates.

“He looks really promising,” Heinicke said. “Can throw the crap out of the ball. So, the more he just develops and gets ready, I think he’s going to be a good player.”

Last season the Atlanta Falcons carried three quarterbacks on their roster; Desmond Ridder, Heinicke and Logan Woodside. Inactive on game days, Woodside was the emergency quarterback who would play only if the two players ahead of him were injured.

That could be the role Heinicke finds himself in with the team in 2024. He will be competing with undrafted rookie John Paddock behind Cousins and Michael Penix Jr.

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