The last few weeks of the 2022 NFL season have been unkind to the Atlanta Falcons, including last Thursday’s primetime loss to the Carolina Panthers. In the aftermath of the Week 10 failure, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith immediately panned the idea that the team would pivot away from struggling starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Still, days after the Thursday night loss, questions around the quarterback position have persisted. According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Smith doubled down on his prior assertions on Monday.
“We’re playing the guys that we’ve been playing,” Smith said of his quarterback. “If we had a major announcement, I’d come in here and tell you. This gotcha game and these loaded questions, it’s comical to me. I promise you, I’ll be transparent as I always have. I’d tell you. You’d see it at practice.”
Per Schultz, Smith calls these questions “low-hanging” fruit, but with how poor Mariota has played recently, it is fair to question when the team could make a change. On the other hand, the Falcons selected rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder out of Cincinnati in the third round, and perhaps it may serve the franchise to see what they have in the youngster.
To date, in 2022, Mariota has thrown for a meager 1747 yards, in addition to 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference. Moreover, the Falcons have only trusted Mariota to throw over 30 times in a game twice this season. Taking away from what little one can, it seems clear they don’t trust him to throw much.
It will remain to be seen whether or not Arthur Smith sticks with Marcus Mariota over Desmond Ridder long-term. Still, the calls for the rookie are not going away anytime soon unless the team’s performance improves.