Will the Atlanta Falcons start Ridder against San Francisco?
By Nick Halden
If the Atlanta Falcons are being completely honest with themselves rookie Desmond Ridder should already be in the starting lineup. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has been a consistent disaster each week turning the ball over at the worst times and failing to hit his open receivers with any consistency.
This isn’t to say Mariota hasn’t had some great moments for the Falcons, however, they are far outweighed by his turnovers and consistent misses. Desmond Ridder deserves a chance to run this offense and show he is the franchise quarterback he is expected to be.
Even if Ridder isn’t a top-tier franchise quarterback he simply needs to be an above-average starter to be a huge upgrade over Mariota. With that said, however, it appears that it will once again be Marcus Mariota making the start for the Falcons on Sunday.
There are two factors that are helping keep him in the starting lineup the first is the fact that the Falcons could be 5-0 on the season with every game coming down to the final play so far this year. The second and perhaps biggest factor is Arthur Smith’s history with Mariota.
Smith brought Mariota to Atlanta on a two-year deal to give the veteran quarterback his second chance. It has to be a very difficult decision on a human level for Smith to be the one benching Mariota this time around after watching it happen with the Titans.
This isn’t to say it still isn’t the obvious and right move only that due to their relationship Mariota may have to continue to truly struggle and the Falcons be blown out for Ridder to earn a chance at the starting role. Smith is a good coach and one that has a subpar roster consistently in a position to win against teams with more roster talent. However, this doesn’t mean the head coach is perfect, and keeping Mariota in the lineup as long as he as is an example of that.
With the 49ers and Bengals both on the schedule over the next two weeks, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Mariota continue to earn starts and be forced to truly lose the job. As long as Atlanta continues to be a play away from winning each game Arthur Smith has an excuse to keep Mariota in the lineup despite the fact Desmond Ridder likely would and could make that play.