Redman keeps Falcons' starting QB job

ATLANTA -- Quarterback Chris Redman, who threw for a career-best 298 yards in the Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints, will remain the Atlanta Falcons' starter for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay and possibly for the rest of the 2007 season.

Interim head coach Emmitt Thomas, who replaced the departed Bobby Petrino, did not feel a change was in order. Petrino had switched starting quarterbacks five times in the previous seven games.

"He had done some good things at times and he'll be the guy," Thomas said.

Redman, 30, completed 23-of-40 passes for 298 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions in the 34-14 loss to the Saints. The completions, attempts and yards all represented new career highs. The start was Redman's first in a regular-season game since Oct. 20, 2002, when he was playing with the Baltimore Ravens.

On the Atlanta quarterback carousel, Joey Harrington has started 10 games and Byron Leftwich two contests for the 3-10 Falcons, and both have lost and regained the No. 1 job at various junctures over the past month. But Leftwich has been unable to stay healthy, and Harrington has been ineffective in recent starts.

The abrupt departure of Petrino placed Redman in a somewhat awkward position, because he probably knew him better than anyone else in the locker room, since he played at the University of Louisville when Petrino was the offensive coordinator there. Petrino was a patron of sorts for Redman and was instrumental in the Falcons signing him as a free agent this spring after the veteran quarterback had been out of the league since 2003.

Amid the hard feelings of some players over Petrino's decision to bolt the Falcons with three games remaining in the season, Redman did not attempt to defend his former mentor but did note that the move was probably in the best interest of the coach and his family.

Of all the Atlanta quarterbacks, Redman is arguably the best versed in the Petrino-designed offense, and that has been evident when he has gotten an opportunity to play. He played well in relief of Harrington in a Dec. 2 defeat at St. Louis, and that earned him the starting job on Monday night.

In four games this season, Redman has completed 40-of-65 passes for 479 yards, with four touchdown passes, two interceptions and a passer rating of 91.8.

Originally a third-round choice of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2000 draft, Redman won the starting job in 2002, and was generally viewed as Baltimore's long-term solution at the critical position. He started the first six games that year but then was sidelined by a season-ending back injury.

Redman returned to play in two games in 2003 but, because of back and shoulder injuries, had not been on an NFL regular-season roster again until this year.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.