QB controversy embroils the Atlanta Falcons after the team fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Marcus Mariota underdelivered once again, missing targets more than a handful of times. However, there is plenty of blame to go around. Arthur Smith’s staff was outcoached, and the team’s execution was inconsistent, but it’s much simpler than all of that. The Falcons, who are usually full of life, came out flat. Moreover, things as simple as tackling seemed impossible, but the team isn’t pointing fingers; they’re sticking together, with multiple players voicing their support for Mariota in post-game interviews.
"I've got Marcus' back to the end, I hope [fans] will, too."#Falcons player support quarterback Marcus Mariota after tough outing in loss to Steelers.
Here's Tyler Allgeier, Kaleb McGary and MyCole Pruitt pic.twitter.com/NrNGgBMutP
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) December 4, 2022
It might not seem like much, but team morale can be fractured after a loss like that. Just ask Zach Wilson and the Jets, who experienced a sort of mutiny in favor of Mike White. It’s a testament to the culture that Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot, and the rest of the new regime have implemented in less than two seasons.
Still, with the Falcons heading into a bye week, there will be plenty of speculation about what signal caller the team will roll out in their next contest. In fact, Arthur Smith left the door open to a potential change at the position before the Falcons tilt against the Saints.
Mariota hasn’t exactly been a consistent veteran presence; he’s actually been somewhat erratic. Granted, he’s given the Falcons a completely different skill set at the position compared to Matt Ryan, and the offense has sometimes experienced success. But the passing game is the furthest thing away from reliable. That’s where calls for Desmond Ridder come in.
Ridder performed well in the preseason, but the regular season is a different beast entirely. If the Falcons turn to the rookie, fans should temper their expectations. The third-round pick will undoubtedly experience some struggles, but I understand the point of turning to Ridder — the Falcons have to see what they have in their rookie signal caller at some point.
Photographer: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
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