FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons believed they solidified their backup quarterback position by trading for T.J. Yates and releasing Dominique Davis.

The Falcons have been living on the edge at the backup quarterback position, should anything happen to Matt Ryan, since parting ways with Chris Redman.

In 2012, they added Luke McCown as quarterback insurance, but didn't re-sign him for 2013. Last season, Davis, a former undrafted player from East Carolina, was the backup quarterback, but played the position in only one game.

So basically, after making it through two seasons without an experienced backup, the Falcons pulled the trigger on a trade to land Yates late Wednesday night from the Houston Texans. He has played in 13 NFL games.

The Falcons sent backup linebacker Akeem Dent to the Texans for Yates.

"You always want to have an (experienced) backup quarterback if you can," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "That doesn't always work out, but T.J. has played in games. He's played in big games. He's won a playoff game for the Houston Texans.

"So, he is an experienced player. We look forward to getting him here."

Yates, 27, was forced into action during his rookie season after Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart sustained injuries. He made his first NFL start against the Falcons and led the Texans to a 17-10 victory on Dec. 4, 2011. Yates completed 12-of-25 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.

In 13 career games with Houston, Yates completed 101-of-166 passes (60.8 percent) for 1,100 yards with three touchdowns, six interceptions, and had a 71.4 quarterback rating.

Yates played in six games as a rookie in 2011, including five starts, leading the Texans to a 3-3 record by passing for 949 yards on 82-of-134 passing (61.2 percent) with three touchdowns, three interceptions and an 80.7 passer rating.

Davis, 6-3, 210 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent following the 2012 NFL draft. After a so-so exhibition season, he served as the team's backup quarterback last season, making his NFL debut at Tampa Bay on November 11, 2013.

He completed 5-of-7 passes before leaving the game because of a knee injury.

"We are always trying to put the most competitive roster in place to give us the best opportunity to win," Smith said. "This was an opportunity that came up for us.

"We felt like it's going to create a very competitive atmosphere for us where we need to have some competition."

--The Falcons drafted linebacker Akeem Dent and envisioned him taking over for Curtis Lofton.

Atlanta, which was lining up to take on Matt Ryan's hefty contract extension, didn't have enough money to retain Lofton and let him leave during free agency.

However, Dent was not able to fill Lofton's shoes after being made the starter during the 2012 season. Last season, he was benched for not making enough plays.

"We appreciate everything that Akeem Dent has done for us over the last three years," coach Mike Smith said.

--The Falcons signed linebacker Tim Dobbins to a one-year, $855,000 contract. He will serve as a backup linebacker and play on special teams.

With Sean Weatherspoon injured, the Falcons were looking at veteran free agent linebackers and worked on Dobbins, Nick Barnett and Jonathan Vilma.

Dobbins played for Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in Miami during the 2010 season.

"Dobbins has a lot of experience," coach Mike Smith said. "He has games under his belt. It's going to be important that we have some guys who have played some games."

Smith appears ready to move ahead with a very youthful linebacker corps that will be backed up mainly by Dobbins.

Second-year players Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow, who were undrafted players last season, have been working with the first-team defense.

Also, Smith said the linebacker Prince Shembo will receive a chance to compete for a starting position.