Quarterback controversies are easy to run with in this line of work. They’re wildly entertaining and profitable, but there will be none of that in Atlanta. Despite the pleas for Desond Ridder from the fan base, the Falcons have remained steadfast with Marcus Mariota at the helm. All Arthur Smith has done is praise Mariota and reaffirmed his support for the veteran as the team’s signal caller.
Through five games of the 2022 season, fans were already prepared to see the rookie. And they might’ve had a point because Mariota had undoubtedly fallen short of the shallow expectations everyone had for the veteran. Expectations weren’t high to begin with, but Mariota was undoubtedly underperforming. However, over the last couple of weeks, he’s begun to turn the corner.
In his most recent performance against the 49ers, Mariota completely silenced all calls for the rookie. He completed 13-of-14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns, connecting on his first 13 passes of the game, finishing with a passer rating of 144.6 — his best as a starter since the 2018 season. Mariota also added 50 yards on the ground on six runs, including a touchdown in route to NFL honors, earning the Offensive NFC Player of the Week award.
To add even more commentary to the situation, Falcons quarterback coach Charles London said Ridder is doing a great job in his role, “he’s a great caddy for Marcus.” That is an objectively hilarious response. The Falcons staff and players are just having fun bonding over the feud the public is having over the quarterback position in Atlanta.
To be fair, Mariota has had some brain-melting plays, ones that cost the Falcons the season opener against the Saints. His almost-perfect performance last week is impressive, but make no mistake about it, his presence caps what this offense can do. Still, the Falcons are rebuilding, and Mariota is nothing more than a stopgap option. If the Falcons somehow make the postseason with this roster and Mariota at the helm, it’ll be a testament to Arthur Smith, his staff, and the culture being created.