4 Atlanta Falcons who let the team down in win vs. Cleveland
By Nick Halden
2. Arthur Smith
Two things can be true, Arthur Smith can be a large part of why the Atlanta culture is changing but he is also culpable for key early mistakes by Atlanta. In week one Arthur Smith’s decisions led directly to a close loss in a game the Falcons had a 16-point lead in. While Smith put together a great game in week four that helped Atlanta steal a win at home there was one key decision he failed to make.
Marcus Mariota needs to be benched and this team needs to put Desmond Ridder and find out what they have in their rookie quarterback. Ridder couldn’t possibly be worse than Mariota and deserves a shot to start in this offense and give London and Pitts the chances they deserve to make plays.
The one argument that Smith has in not benching Mariota in this game is in who they play next week. Ridder could have easily won this game for Atlanta considering they won despite Mariota, however, when you bench Marcus Ridder is clearly the starter going forward. Giving the rookie his first career start against Tom Brady and a ferocious Tampa Bay defense is hardly best case scenario for Atlanta. Smith has to make the right move when Mariota struggles again next week against Tampa and bench the veteran for Desmond Ridder.