Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota had a horrible game 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 definitely wouldn’t say Mariota will remain the starter for the Falcons’ next game, Nov. 20 against the Bears.
“I know these are popular narratives, these are the easy questions to ask,” Smith said. “But as a football team as a whole we have to do a better job, starting with myself. So we look every week to make sure we have the right guys in the right places.
When asked a follow-up question about whether Mariota or Ridder would go, Smith declined to focus specifically on the quarterback position.
“Can you take care of the quarterback, and the team?” said Smith. “We had an opportunity at the end of the fourth quarter of the last two weeks, and many different ways, and many different phases where we need to improve. And we have the opportunity to do that with seven games to go.
The Falcons have an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs, thanks to the general weakness of the AFC South. But they won’t win much if Mariota keeps playing like he did on Thursday night.
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