FLOWERY BRANCH — Following his first practice with the Falcons, this much can be confirmed about Michael Penix Jr.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the team’s rookie quarterback throws left-handed.

In the first workout of the Falcons rookie minicamp Friday, all of Penix’s passes during a 40-minute viewing window unquestionably were released from his left hand.

Also, when he is not wearing pads and throwing passes to targets without defensive resistance, he delivers accurate passes in a tight spiral.

What else?

He wore leggings under his shorts. He was shod in Adidas cleats. The Falcons have issued him jersey No. 9, which he has worn since he was a young boy. It’s in homage to his uncle Joe Bain, who wore it for South Florida in the first college football game that Penix ever attended.

That said, conclusive visual data on whether he will lead the Falcons to their first Super Bowl championship was elusive, at least during the viewing period afforded to media.

“It was fun to be able to be out here competing at the highest level,” Penix said. “I’m blessed to be here, and it was exciting.”

Still, he dropped some hints that, at least in his approach to his new job, the Falcons have the right guy. One happened Thursday night, after the rookies were issued playbooks and given the script for Friday’s practice.

After the day was over, Penix was going to return to the practice field to walk through the plays by himself when a thought struck.

“I was like, ‘How does that make me a leader if I’m not bringing other people along?’” Penix said.

He fired off a text to the rookies’ group chat urging them to join him. In response, “the whole crew,” in Penix’s words, came out to walk through it together.

“One of them came up to me, he was like, ‘That walk-through helped,’” Penix said. “I was like, ‘Anything I can do to help.’”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons first-round draft pick Michael Penix, Jr. speaks to reporters following his first rookie minicamp workout on Friday.

Also, in his post-practice interview session, Penix was deferential to quarterback Kirk Cousins, the man he’ll likely understudy for at least the next two seasons. He said he was looking forward to working with Cousins and getting to know him.

“It’s definitely going to be great,” he said of working with Cousins. “I’m super blessed to be able to be right here in this position right now, obviously, with a veteran in front of me right now and just learning from him and just going about my business each and every day, trying to find ways to improve and get to where he is – multiple years in the league. That’s what I want.”

Not just blessed, but super blessed.

It was only the first day, and maybe Penix actually is a cutthroat backstabber whose search history includes “how to void a $100 million guaranteed NFL contract and make it look like an accident.”

Regardless, the more he can ease the tension of having the quarterback of the present and the quarterback of the future joining the roster at the same time, the better.

Friday morning before the practice, the two had their first face-to-face introduction following a phone call from Cousins to Penix on draft night.

“He said he was happy to see me and to have me here, and I just told him, Man, I can’t wait to work with (you),” Penix said. “That’s what it was.”

Humility and leadership are not going to help Penix hit his checkdown when a defensive end is about to send him to the X-ray room or when it’s fourth-and-long in a two-minute drill and the Saints bring a coverage scheme that he hasn’t seen before.

Desmond Ridder, who wore No. 9 last year before Penix, also was hailed for his character. However, it did not translate into being able to avoid throwing the ball to the other team.

But, at the least, Penix sounded like he’ll be willing to play the part of patient backup, which is no small part of this unusual quarterback formula working for coach Raheem Morris.

“If you’re on a team, you can’t make it about you at any point in time,” Penix said. “So, for me, I’m just trying to find ways to help the team be better, improve each and every day. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ironically, his injury history – the same one that raised warning flags about his draft candidacy – actually could serve him in his apprenticeship and, by extension, the Falcons. Each of his four seasons at Indiana was ended by injury – ACL tear, right (non-throwing) shoulder injury, a second ACL tear of the same (right) knee and left shoulder injury. (He then started all 28 of Washington’s games in his final two seasons of his college career, extended by a redshirt season and a COVID-19 year.)

Penix has spent a lot of time watching games from the sideline and rehabilitating injuries apart from the team. He has become quite familiar with waiting, and Friday he credited those stages of his life with helping him develop mental and physical toughness.

“I’ve been through adversity,” he said. “I’ve been in moments where I wasn’t on the field and just waiting my turn. I’m back in that position again. Whenever my time comes and whenever my number’s called, I’ve just got to make sure I’m ready.”

Not every first-round pick brings that maturity to the NFL, at least not from having dealt with four season-ending injuries. In an era when quarterbacks often transfer when they’ve lost the competition for the starting job – Penix quite understandably left Indiana because he wanted a fresh start – telling a top-10 pick that he probably won’t get his shot until 2026 at the earliest comes with some risk.

However, Penix could scarcely be better equipped for the task. He’s OK with having to wait. He even likes to fish.

Patience is a part of who he is. And, as much his rocket-firing left arm, he’ll need it.

That said, as the interview session wrapped up Friday, Penix was asked if he had experienced Atlanta traffic yet. He had not.

“No, I’m not going to Atlanta right now,” he said.

We all have our limits.