3 Drastic improvements the Atlanta Falcons made this off-season
By Nick Halden
1. Obvious improvement at quarterback
Mariota's ability as a scrambler or staring his open receiver into coverage were the only consistently elite abilities Marcus brought to the Falcons. It was close to impossible for the Falcons not to upgrade the position and they very clearly have this off-season.
Desmond Ridder is clearly an upgrade from Mariota but even if you don't buy into the second-year quarterback as a starter Atlanta added a capable second option in Taylor Heinicke. For Arthur Smith's offense, Heinicke is more than capable of playing at a high level and consistently winning games. The only hole in Taylor's game is the deep ball something Atlanta rarely turns to with an offense focused on running the football and quick throws off play action.
Ridder's ability to create outside the pocket and superior arm to Mariota will be quickly made obvious and give the Atlanta offense a far more balanced attack. While Atlanta may choose to run the ball as often as they did the previous season with the addition of Bijan Robinson teams will be forced to respect Atlanta's passing attack now that they have a quarterback actually capable of consistently hitting Kyle Pitts and Drake London.