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Falcons QB Marcus Mariota’s immediate reaction after getting benched for Desmond Ridder

ClutchPoints logo: MainLogo ClutchPoints 12/14/2022 Jedd Pagaduan
12/13/22 © Provided by ClutchPoints 12/13/22

It’s always difficult to accept when things aren’t going your way. This is especially the case for professional athletes, who hold themselves to ridiculously high standards. Such is the case for (perhaps former) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was told by head coach Arthur Smith that he will no longer be the team’s starting QB, set to be replaced by rookie Desmond Ridder.

Mariota has then decided to step away from the team as a result of the demotion. The 29-year old quarterback explained away his decision by citing the need for evaluation regarding a chronic knee issue. Per Smith, the Falcons have elevated Desmond Ridder to a bigger role due to performance reasons, per Josh Kendall of The Athletic (subscription required).

“Those (conversations) are never easy,” Smith said. “You try to be truthful, whether they agree or not, those are the conversations you have to have.”

Simply put, the Falcons, at 5-8, felt that they needed a changing of the guard in their offense, and they’re now looking at what they have in the 23-year old quarterback as they try to end the season on a high note.

When the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year, $18.75 million daeal during the offseason, they were banking on a return to form for the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Alas, he and the Falcons have struggled all season long. And perhaps his most recent appearance, a 13/24, 167-yard, 1-touchdown, 1-interception performance in a 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was the final straw.

In light of Marcus Mariota’s decision, Smith and the Falcons have decided to put him on the injured reserve list, knocking him out for the rest of the season due to the minimum four-game absence that entails.

The Falcons could save $12 million in cap hit if they decide to cut Mariota after the season. For now, Logan Woodside would serve as Desmond Ridder’s backup quarterback.

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Nish Patel

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