Arthur Smith didn’t consider benching Marcus Mariota, won’t say who starts next week

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
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Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota played an ugly game on Thursday night, but he was never in danger of being benched.

That’s the word from Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who said after the game that he never considered turning to rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder.

However, Smith would not say definitively that Mariota will remain the starter for the Falcons’ next game, November 20 against the Bears.

“I know those are popular narratives, those are the easy questions to ask,” Smith said. “But as a whole football team, we’ve got to do a better job, starting with myself. So, we look every week to make sure we’ve got the right guys in the right spots.”

When asked a follow-up question about whether Mariota or Ridder will go, Smith declined to focus specifically on the quarterback position.

“You can make it about the quarterback, how about the team?” Smith said. “We had an opportunity at the end of the fourth quarter the last two weeks, and a lot of different ways, and a lot of different phases where we’ve got to get better. And we’ve got an opportunity to do that with seven games left.”

The Falcons do have an opportunity to make the playoffs, thanks to the overall weakness of the NFC South. But they’re not going to win much if Mariota keeps playing like he did on Thursday night.

20 responses to “Arthur Smith didn’t consider benching Marcus Mariota, won’t say who starts next week

  1. All of these godawful quarterbacks around the league and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles has been on the bench this whole time? I don’t get it. Nick at his worst is better than Mariota and Baker.

  2. So that pretty much clarifies whether the owner is making football decisions while games are in progress.

  3. Was Mariota really that bad? I didn’t see the game, but his stats looks like he was carrying the team. Maybe he accumulated much of it in garbage time.

  4. If everyone benched their struggling QB after his first few games, there wouldn’t be any QBs in the Hall of Fame. Maybe just Joe Montana, but that’s about it.

  5. This is starting to get a Nagy, Dalton, Fields 2021 feel to it. Bad team with young mobile QB on the bench and a stopgap QB behind a bad offensive line on a team going nowhere. You could’ve timed Mariota’s decision making on a sundial it was so slow.

    It should’ve been a no brainer to get the rookie some reps in the second half of a game going nowhere with 2 teams going nowhere. It’s not like Ridder was going out there against the Chiefs or Bills. Get the kid some reps.

    Also, playing all 4 RBs equally? All 4-8 runs, all 20-32 yds, all healthy. If you aren’t going to try to win, what was the point of not playing Ridder again?

  6. Mariota is a backup QB for a reason. The Falcons had a few.fluke wins and losses and the team is better than thought because they were thought to be the worst team talent wise going into the season. But Mariota is not a long term solution and I would go to Ridder just to see what he has.

  7. Mariota is horrible. Should have been benched after running out of bounds for a loss instead of throwing the ball away. That play took them out of fg range. After that didn’t happen the loss is on the coach for not making the move to Ridder. Mariota and Smith are destroying the careers of both London and Pitts, really sad to see that.

  8. As a UC fan I love Des Ridder, but I never once thought he was an NFL QB. He has some skills and won a lot of football games in college, so maybe he has some Jalen Hurts abilities in there that will take some time to come out? I can’t see him starting and winning this year though.

  9. This is a perfect example of how stats can lie. Mariota was absolutely dreadful last night. At least two easy interceptions were dropped. Several wide open receivers missed badly (Pitts must be beside himself). He doesn’t even look elusive anymore. And yet….a respectable passer ratings and QBR. Play the rookie, Arthur. You’ve seen enough to know that Mariota is not a long term answer. This is year eight of his career. If you were in any oter division in football, the playoffs would be a pipe dream already, so don’t chase the fool’s gold of a possible cheap division title.

  10. Falcons have not improved at all since Smith was hired. Time for yet another new Falcon HC. Reset

  11. I remember early in the year I got into some arguments with people telling me Mariota was a solid QB. He just doesn’t have it and never will.

    Also, Thursday Night Football is the worst product the NFL has ever produced.

  12. It doesn’t help to have ZERO run game by randomly rotating four running backs which allows none to get in any kind of rhythm or groove, especially with 3 being unsuccessful rookies and an unknown while limiting your top back to 4 carries.

  13. Why is it always pointed out like it’s something wrong when a coach wont say what their plans are for an upcoming game? Is there some basis for believing we should be entitled to that info?

  14. I enjoyed the sequence after Mariota threw the across the field and was very nearly picked, prompting Herbstreit to say “a QB should never ever do that, that was just rookie stuff from Mariota” and then Marcus proceeded to make the exact same decision on the very next play (which WAS picked off.)

    Just poetic.

  15. Arthur Smith is in over his head, he’s a hack that’s living off of his dad’s accomplishments. He has no plan to develop the Falcons two first round picks in Pitts and Drake. He seems more interested in trying to revive Mariota’s career and stubbornly refusing to throw the ball.

    His refusal to give Ridder any snaps is mind boggling as it’s obvious that Mariota isn’t the long term answer. Mariota is a bad thrower, has awful accuracy, and makes poor decisions….he’s not a good NFL QB.

    That play where he heaved the ball while getting tackled and it got intercepted but called back because he was down was comical and should have put him on the bench.

    The Falcons aren’t a playoff contender so you might as well play the rookie to see what he can do. Mariota seems like a good guy this isn’t a popularity contest.

  16. Putting Ridder behind that terrible offensive line with Arthur Smith and Dave Ragone running the most predictable offense in the league would be a recipe for disaster.

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