Arthur Smith’s play calling shows Mariota isn’t the answer for the Atlanta Falcons
By Nick Halden
In a passing league, the Atlanta Falcons and head coach Arthur Smith are outliers in the packages they put on the field and their willingness to run the football. Smith’s play calling is both a part of his coaching style and due to who his starting quarterback is. Atlanta won last week’s game despite Mariota turning the ball over and completing only seven passes and failing to make an impact in the ground game.
Smith’s style has always been run-heavy, however, in Atlanta, this has increased due to Mariota not being able to make THE play. Whether it is in week one and not trusting Mariota to get a first down that would have ended the game or last week against the Browns keeping the ball out of his hands as much as possible in the second half it is obvious that Arthur Smith and this offense isn’t able to trust Mariota.
Why he remains the starting quarterback when the team is winning despite his poor performances is head-scratching. One logical explanation could be Arthur Smith waiting to get back this week’s Tampa Bay Bucs game and allow Desmond Ridder an easier first start and stretch of games to begin his career.
Even starting Ridder at Tampa isn’t the worst idea when you consider how awful Mariota has been. Ridder would have to truly be a complete disaster to be a downgrade from a veteran who has done nothing but stands in Atlanta’s way when it comes to clutch time.
Even if Arthur Smith isn’t admitting it yet his plays show what many Atlanta Falcons fans know already, Mariota isn’t the answer for this team and isn’t a starting quarterback in this league. As great of a comeback story as it would be it is time for Smith and the Falcons to admit to themselves that Mariota is far from the answer and insert rookie Desmond Ridder into the starting lineup.