1. Marcus Mariota
While Arthur Smith has been quick to defend his veteran quarterback if Mariota continues to struggle Smith cannot ignore Desmond Ridder’s potential. Ridder looked great in the preseason and gave the Falcons a reason to believe he could be their franchise quarterback, one capable of elevating the team to a level they haven’t been since Matt Ryan’s prime.
Mariota continually made plays against the Rams on Sunday just as he continually turned the ball over and missed wide-open receivers. It is a roller coaster ride that ended with Mariota being benched with the Titans and if he doesn’t drastically improve or start to lean on the running game he will be benched in Atlanta as well.
Mariota needs a big week three game to help steady the team and to keep his own starting role. While he might not lose his starting job with another bad game it certainly heats up the conversation about when Desmond Ridder could be put into the starting lineup. Mariota has immense talent and an ability to have a great game against a Seattle team that is far removed from the Legion of Boom defense focusing on a rebuild that gives Atlanta and Mariota a chance for a steadying win.