Arthur Smith: We’re not asking Marcus Mariota to be Matt Ryan, just to be himself

USA TODAY Sports

With Matt Ryan traded to the Colts, the Falcons now have Marcus Mariota as their presumable starting quarterback for 2022.

It’s been years since Mariota had a QB1 title, losing that job with the Titans to Ryan Tannehill in 2019. But after spending the last two seasons with the Raiders, he’s been reunited with head coach Arthur Smith — who was his offensive coordinator in Tennessee.

While Mariota is replacing Ryan, Smith said Thursday that he doesn’t want Mariota to feel like he has to do anything outside of himself in his role as a quarterback.

“He’s his own guy. That’s what you like about certain players, but he’s authentic,” Smith said. “He is who he is. He doesn’t try to be anybody. We’re not asking him to come in here and be Matt Ryan or to be Peyton Manning. Be Marcus Mariota. That’s what we want.

“He’s also – I think everybody when you get another shot at something, there’s lessons learned and they’re hard lessons but if you take them the right way, you’re more appreciative of the opportunity. It’s been fun being around him again, not just as a player but as a person. He’s one of those people you enjoy being around and he’s doing a good job right now with what we’re asking him to.”

Mariota will have his share of challenges in the upcoming year. But he does have an opportunity to show that he can once again be a franchise quarterback for a team that needs to replace one.

4 responses to “Arthur Smith: We’re not asking Marcus Mariota to be Matt Ryan, just to be himself

  1. If they use Cordarrelle Patterson like they did last year and use Marcus Mariota in the ways only Marcus can do, the Falcons could be one of the most exciting and dangerous offenses in the NFL!

  2. Titans fan here still want to see Marcus succeed: protect him so he can use his jets

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