3 Atlanta Falcons to watch closely in week one against the Saints
By Nick Halden
1. Marcus Mariota
Obviously, if the Falcons are going to beat the Saints in week one Mariota has to be the same quarterback he was in each of the first two Atlanta preseason games. Mariota used his legs to escape trouble and pushed the ball down the field with regularity. He used his legs to make plays when the throws weren’t there scoring a rushing touchdown in his first preseason drive. For Atlanta to win this game Mariota is going to have to outplay Jameis Winston and it can’t be terribly close.
Mariota will have the added pressure of a rookie in Desmond Ridder looking over his shoulder after a great preseason. Ridder showed everything Atlanta fans could hope to see from a player who appears to be the future of the franchise.
Add in the fact this is likely Mariota’s last shot at a starting role and he is under immense pressure to start hot for the Falcons. With a coach in Arthur Smith setting him up for success, I believe that will happen in week one and Mariota will put together a game that reminds people why the Titans drafted him second overall. If Mariota has a big game the Falcons are going to win this game and find some much-needed momentum headed into a terrible week two matchup.