The Falcons are entering unprecedented territory in 2022. For the first time in over a decade, Atlanta will boast a signal caller that isn’t Matt Ryan after the team traded the franchise’s all-time leader in every passing statistic to the Colts.
Terry Fontenot quickly signed Marcus Mariota to be the organization’s stopgap quarterback and drafted Desmond Ridder to seemingly be the team’s next franchise starter.
Neither is expected to be Matt Ryan, but both should be productive passers for the Falcons in 2022. One of the most significant differences between last year’s roster and this year is the pass catching unit.
In 2021, Matt Ryan was mainly throwing to Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson since Russell Gage and Calvin Ridley missed significant time. Though the roster downgraded at the quarterback position, it certainly improved at wide receiver.
Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Bryan Edwards, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Anthony Firkser are a formidable unit that should help the Falcons quarterbacks. They also signed Auden Tate, among a few other depth pieces, and one theme remains consistent on the roster — size.
- Drake London: 6′ 4″
- Kyle Pitts: 6′ 6″
- Geronimo Allison: 6′ 3″
- Bryan Edwards: 6′ 3″
- Auden Tate: 6′ 5″
- Anthony Firkser: 6′ 2″
That is a massive receiving core, and it’s a group that Mariota believes will serve him in Ridder well this season.
“With those guys in there, they make you look good,” Mariota said. “You don’t always have to be perfect with your throws. Being able to have these guys whether it be their catch radius, whether it’s their ability to get in and out of cuts, the receivers have really made all of us quarterbacks look good this offseason.”
Expectations aren’t high for the Falcons this year, but those big receiving targets should prove to be a good match for the Falcons signal callers and Arthur Smith’s offense, which is centered around in-breaking routes for wideouts who can threaten defenses after the catch.
It’s still unclear if Mariota or Ridder will lead the Falcons’ offense in 2022, but many expect the veteran to come out of camp as the starter. Regardless of who is the team’s quarterback in Week 1, either will be throwing to a basketball team of pass catchers, which act as a safety net.