Falcons QB coach: Marcus Mariota is the starter

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The Falcons QB competition was going to be one of the more intriguing position battles this offseason, but it seems they already have their starting signal caller. Falcons QB coach Charles London told members of the media today after the very first day of training camp that Marcus Mariota is the starter.

After trading away Matt Ryan this offseason, the Falcons quickly signed Mariota and drafted Desmond Ridder. The former has the obvious leg up in the experience department. Mariota has already played in Arthur Smith’s offense and is lightyears ahead of the rookie in what he’s seen from NFL defenses.

However, reports from Flowery Branch suggest Ridder isn’t like most rookie QBs. He’s not struggling with the jargon and schematics of an NFL offense. Teammates are also gravitating toward him as a leader — the two most important things for a young signal caller in this league. But despite the Cincinnati product being ahead of schedule compared to most rookie QBs, it seems the Falcons already have their starter.

For two reasons, I would be shocked if Ridder didn’t see some playing time this season, though. First, Mariota is as injury prone as any QB not named Sam Bradford. I’m not guaranteeing he’ll get hurt, but chances are he will. Secondly, if the Falcons are as bad as everyone expects, they’ll be in a position to land one of the top draft prospects in the 2023 class. If that happens, the Falcons need to know what they have in Ridder before drafting a Bryce Young or CJ Stroud-type signal caller.

But for right now, Marcus Mariota is the starter.

Photographer: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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