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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Falcons make decision on starting QB

Arthur Smith on the field

May 25, 2021; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith on the field during Falcons OTA at the Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipated Atlanta Falcons quarterback competition between Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder seems to be non-existent.

Falcons quarterbacks coach Charles London announced on Wednesday that Mariota would be the team’s starter. The announcement came on the first day of camp.

“Obviously, we’ve got a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” London said via The Athletic’s Josh Kendall. “That’s how we’re going into this thing.

“I expect those guys to compete,” London said. “Right now, Marcus is the starter, and he’s doing a great job.”

This move is not much of a surprise.

While Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot said earlier this offseason that there would be an open competition for the job, the Falcons likely want to give Ridder more time to develop.

An earlier report seemed to indicated that Mariota, a seven-year NFL veteran, had the upper hand over Ridder after a strong performance during the spring.

The 28-year-old has thrown for one touchdown and 226 yards in 11 games since 2020 and will likely serve as a bridge between Matt Ryan and Ridder. The Falcons have stiff competition in the NFC South this season with a loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense and staunch New Orleans Saints defense. The team could use this year to allow Ridder to learn the system and get some experience with little expectations or pressure.

Ridder, the No. 74 pick in this year’s draft, is coming off his best collegiate season with Cincinnati. He threw for 3,334 yards and 30 touchdowns in 14 games. While Mariota will start the season under center, fans may get a glimpse of Ridder at some point.

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