It took only one day of training camp for the Atlanta Falcons to decide on who their starting quarterback would be, and he is no other than Marcus Mariota.
No less than quarterbacks coach Charles London told The Athletic about the decision.
“Obviously, we’ve got a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” London stated. “That’s how we’re going into this thing.”
The move means that Atlanta will relegate Desmond Ridder as the backup quarterback for the Falcons this season.
After serving as Derek Carr’s backup in Las Vegas in the last two years, Mariota gets to show his stuff.
The second overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft signed with the Falcons after Matt Ryan got traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
The signing also reunited Mariota with former coach Arthur Smith as both worked together when they were with the Tennessee Titans.
Not long after he officially joined the Falcons, the 28-year-old from Hawaii did not deny that the chance to work with Smith was a factor in his decision.
“Loyalty is very important to me,” Mariota told Rob DeMello of KHON2 News. “It is something that we all live off of here in Hawaii. Art has been somebody that’s been in my corner for a long time. I appreciate everything he’s done for me.”
“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m excited to be part of this organization and looking forward to just getting out there.”
Mariota’s NFL career started on a high note, throwing four touchdowns in his first regular-season game in a blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
His career has not been spared from injuries, but Mariota came up with reasonable numbers. That included 38 sacks in 12 games and a 3-9 record as a starter.
In his rookie season, he threw for 19 touchdowns (along with two touchdown runs) against 10 interceptions.
It has been a rough NFL run for Mariota for the past couple of years. Now, he gets a chance to redeem himself with some help from a former coach who may know how to bring out the best in him.