After a promising start to the season that saw the Atlanta Falcons exceed all preseason expectations and held on to a lead of the NFC South for a couple of weeks, the Atlanta Falcons have dropped four out of the last six games and sit a game behind Tampa as the season hits the final stretch. So the question needs to asked – at what point does the team make a commitment to the future and give Desmond Ridder a chance to prove himself to this franchise?
Chris Thomas and Beau Morgan dug into the topic on “The Other Side of the Glass” on Thursday night and were at odds about the necessity of making the switch at signal-caller given that the team has played in so many close games and, more or less, Marcus Mariota has performed up to expectations.
Chris opened up his argument by stating, “Unfortunately, we have been on the wrong end of just a play three or four different times this season. Sometimes it comes down to luck but other times, Beau, it comes down to good teams win those games and mediocre or below-mediocre teams don’t.” Beau made it a point to note that the most recent 19-13 loss to the Commanders was due to Washington being the better team and, ultimately, Mariota has played exactly as most have expected him to.
“We’re now reaching the point of no return for the Falcons and the reason I say a change at quarterback could happen at any moment is because there is absolutely no margin for error,” Chris continued. “If Arthur Smith wants to make the playoffs, you need all hands on deck and if Mariota’s not cutting the job and you need to bring in Ridder to see what you have, in a game that’s hanging in the balance, and he (Mariota) isn’t getting the job done, I think there’s a very good chance we see him (Ridder).”
Beau stood his ground with the thought that, even if the Falcons lose, Tampa Bay could fall to New Orleans this weekend and the Falcons would still be in contention. “If I’ve learned anything about Arthur Smith…he cares about winning and he has made it very clear – abundantly clear – that the best chance for this team to win is with Marcus at the helm.”
Beau ultimately points to the level of experience that Mariota brings to the field. With 2,052 passing yards, completing 62% of his passes along with 14 TDs, Mariota is having his best season as a pro since his days in Tennessee. He also thinks that a lot of the blame can’t fall on the shoulders of the quarterback and that the defense should be held accountable for a lot of the close losses this season. He pointed to the blown coverages from DB Darren Hall last week and wondered why there wasn’t a call to have him benched as well.
At the end of it all, we know that Arthur Smith has been very public about his commitment to Mariota this season but, with the uncertainty of the future at the position, it begs the question that at what point does the team turn to Ridder and give the fanbase a view of what’s to come for the Falcons beyond this season?