After a day of training camp, the Atlanta Falcons have decided on the team’s new starting quarterback. The job will go to Marcus Mariota, the former world no. 2 overall pick who is entering his first season with the franchise.
With Mariota signed as the starter, rookie Desmond Ridder, the 74th overall pick in the year’s draft, will serve as Atlanta’s backup quarterback.
“Obviously, we have a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” Falcons quarterbacks coach Charles London said via The Athletic. “That’s how we’re going to get into this.”
After two years as Derek Carr’s backup in Las Vegas, the Falcons signed Mariota shortly after the team traded starter Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. The move reunites Mariota with Falcons coach Arthur Smith, who previously worked with Mariota during his time with the Titans. Shortly after joining the Falcons, Mariota said the opportunity to work with Smith was a big factor in his decision to sign with Atlanta.
“Loyalty is very important to me,” Mariota told Rob Demello of Khon2 News. “it’s something we all live for here in hawaii. art has been someone who’s been on my side for a long time. i appreciate everything it’s done for me.
“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m excited to be a part of this organization and I can’t wait to get out.”
The 28-year-old quarterback was an immediate starter for the titans, who made him the second overall pick in the 2015 nfl draft. his career started off pretty well, as he threw for four touchdowns in his first game regular season, a landslide victory over the Buccaneers. Despite injuries, enduring 38 sacks in 12 games and a 3-9 record as a starter, Mariota’s rookie season was largely successful, as he threw for 19 touchdowns (along with two TD runs) against 10 interceptions.
Mariota’s growth before his debut and second season was evident. in 15 games, he threw for 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions and took 15 fewer sacks than when he was a rookie. he also posted an 8-7 record as the Titans’ starting quarterback.
Things started to change after that. Mariota won his first playoff game in 2017, but that season he also threw more interceptions than touchdown passes. He had another up-and-down season in 2018 and was replaced by Ryan Tannehill six games into the 2019 season.
Mariota signed that offseason with the Raiders while accepting a backup position behind Carr, throwing just 30 touchdowns in two seasons in Las Vegas. He played exceptionally well in relief for an injured Carr during a three-point loss to the Chargers late in the 2020 campaign.
“It was a great reset,” Mariota said of his time in Las Vegas. “Obviously being on the field and going out there and playing is what I want to do. But I needed that in my career. Unfortunately, with everything that happened in Tennessee, I was a little bit banged up, both mentally and physically. To get that restart, to Getting to be a part of that great quarterback room in Las Vegas has really propelled me to this moment. I’m excited, I’m ready, I feel great and I’m looking forward to heading out to Atlanta.”
mariota was the second former world no. 2 overall pick to sign with a new team during the offseason. Mitchell Trubisky, who earned a Pro Bowl nomination as a member of the Bears, hopes to revive his career in Pittsburgh after spending the 2021 season as Josh Allen’s backup at Buffalo. Mariota hopes to make the most of his new opportunity in Atlanta, where the Falcons are coming off a 7-10 campaign during Smith’s first season as coach.
“You’re going to get 110%. Everything I do, I try to do the best I can,” Mariota said. “I feel very honored and privileged to have this opportunity. I will do whatever it takes to help my teammates be the best they can be. And we’re just fighting for wins.”