The Atlanta Falcons traded away longtime former franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to the Colts during the offseason. He leaves behind some big shoes to fill.
The Falcons, as a result, made a number of decisions at quarterback earlier this year. First, the NFC South franchise signed veteran Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal worth $18.75 million. They then took former Cincinnati star Desmond Ridder with the No. 74 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Atlanta is hoping Ridder can one day transform into its new franchise quarterback. However, the Falcons are trusting the veteran Mariota to begin the 2022 season.
This week, Falcons quarterbacks coach Charles London named Marcus Mariota the team's starting quarterback.
"Marcus is the starter," said London Via The Athletic. "That's how we're going into this thing."
Well that didn't take too long. The Falcons clearly have trust in the veteran Mariota, which isn't much of a surprise. He has big-time experience at the NFL level.
Mariota spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans, who took the former Oregon superstar with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In his final season with the AFC South franchise, Mike Vrabel replaced Mariota with Ryan Tannehill and never looked back. A year later Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders where he served as a backup to Derek Carr for two seasons.
In his seven-year NFL career, Mariota has thrown for 13,437 yards and 77 touchdowns with 45 picks. He's also picked up 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
This could be Mariota's last chance to prove he's worth of being a starting quarterback in the National Football League. He'll no doubt be looking to make a big impression right off the bat in Atlanta.
Ridder, meanwhile, now gets the opportunity to study the veteran and Falcons' playbook from the sideline.