The Atlanta Falcons will need QB Marcus Mariota to step up in week two
There has been a lot of positivity amongst Atlanta Falcons fans when it comes to Marcus Mariota which proves how things can look good on the surface but not so great when you dig deeper.
Did Mariota play an awful game? No, but it was far from impressive and is honestly a little bit concerning.
The first thing I noticed when rewatching the game is that Mariota is clearly a conservative passer. There were numerous plays where he had two options; throw the ball to the open man past the sticks or throw the ball to the closest receiver. Mariota did the latter quite often against the Saints.
Sure, you can cut down on interceptions and incompletions by playing that way but think about all the wasted yardage on each play. He needs to play more aggressively, no way around it.
He also needs to be more accurate on his deep throws. The one pass to Zaccheaus that resulted in pass interference possibly could have been caught if not for the interference but the play call and throw when trying to clinch the game, on the third down on the second-to-last drive, was terrible.
The other thing is that he can’t fumble the ways he did. Quarterback fumbles are bound to happen but these were avoidable.
On the first one, he just needs to slide, and he did admit after that he wasn’t paying attention to the down marker and thought he needed a few more yards to get the first down, so hopefully, that won’t happen again.
And on the second one, he was under center, received a good snap but just dropped it. With this one, he said that he rushed the play but that almost makes it concerning because these are the things that should be second nature to a quarterback.
Maybe it is just the rust from being a backup for two years, but him not identifying exactly where a first-down marker is as well as rushing a play in a critical time are not things that you can live with from a QB in the NFL. If little things like this keep happening then Arthur Smith has to put the rookie in.