The Atlanta Falcons have stumbled to losses in consecutive to open the NFL season. The newly minted starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, has received the brunt of the blame for the early miscues. Through his first two starts, Mariota has just under 500 total yards and three touchdowns, but he's had some back-breaking miscues that have cost the Falcons in key moments.
Chuck Smith joined Dukes & Bell on Tuesday to discuss the starting quarterback, but also what's standing in the way of the team picking up their first win of the season. He described the "little things" that are standing in the way of switching the 2022 season from disappointing to encouraging.
"This Falcons team has proven that they can compete," Chuck Smith told Dukes & Bell on Tuesday. "They went head to head with the Saints, they went head to head with the Rams. I think they can get the job done [against Seattle]."
Bill Parcells made the famous quip that you are what your record says you are, and the Falcons are a winless bunch. This is the reality, no matter how frustratingly close they have been in either game.
Against the Saints, they were downright impressive through the first three-quarters of the game before dissolving in the final fifteen minutes. In week two, the script (nearly) completely flipped. The Falcons looked to be a hapless bunch before flipping a switch in the final quarter and nearly winning the game.
"This is the NFL, you're always so close to being 0-3," Smith said. "Think about the Falcons, they're that close to being 2-0, but nobody really looks at that."
Chuck Smith continued by telling Dukes & Bell that the Falcons are so close to being that team, but they are beating themselves by not doing the little things right. He told Dukes & Bell, "The Falcons have to clean up the little things like turnovers. Keep making big plays on defense and things are going to turn their way, but it has to be for a full four quarters."
That's where we come back to the starting quarterback. Marcus Mariota has, at times, looked great for the Falcons. He has flashed the accuracy and athleticism that made him the second pick in the NFL Draft. At the same time, we've seen the plays that have since turned him into the journeyman quarterback that brought him to Atlanta.
Eliminate the mistakes like the fourth-quarter fumbled snap in plus territory against the Saints or the misread coverage against the Rams in the offense's final play last Sunday and this team could have checks in the win column. The Falcons are close, but like we've seen early on in 2022, being close only gets you so far in the NFL.