Atlanta Falcons: Is Mariota playing for his job on Thursday night?

With the Atlanta Falcons heading into a long bye week and an easy schedule ahead, it is fair to wonder if tonight is the last time we see Marcus Mariota as the starter?

When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Desmond Ridder this off-season there was some thought that the rookie could win the job early on in the year. The preseason certainly fanned this theory with Ridder putting together a nice highlight reel giving Atlanta a reason to believe they had drafted the right guy.

Now we are ten weeks into the NFL season and we haven’t had any indication Atlanta is ready to make a change at the position. Despite Mariota’s consistent turnovers and lack of an ability to complete basic passes Atlanta is consistently winning and Marcus has brought the Atlanta run game back to life.

The respect he garners as a rusher helps open up things for Huntley, Allgeier, and Patterson who have all had a high impact on the Atlanta offense. The problem for Atlanta, however, is if they are forced to pass the ball Mariota cannot be counted on.

Despite this Arthur Smith has continued to stick with Mariota and will likely continue to do so barring an all-time bad game from Mariota tonight. If Ridder is going to play at all this season now is the time for an Atlanta team that has a long bye and a slate of four games that would set the rookie quarterback up for success.

Despite this it seems increasingly likely that Smith is going to continue to stick with Mariot as long as the Falcons are in the playoff hunt even if it is to the detriment of his own team. Ridder should have already made his debut if we are being completely honest.

Though with a winnable game in Carolina it is hard to imagine the Falcons changing direction unless Mariota completely implodes and leaves Smith no choice.