It’s only day 1 of training camp and the Atlanta Falcons have confirmed who their starting quarterback will be for the 2022-23 season.
In fact, there was absolutely no hesitation when QB coach Charles London announced Marcus Mariota as the team’s starter, according to Falcons’ team reporter & analyst, Tori McElhaney,
“Obviously, we’ve got a plan for each of them. Marcus is the starter,” London said. “That’s how we’re going into this thing.”
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Mariota Was Their QB1 All Along
Despite drafting rookie QB Desmond Ridder in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Falcons had plans all along to use Mariota as their starter.
“We’ve added competition certainly,” head coach Arthur Smith said back in May, per The Athletic. “Marcus being the veteran gives us a chance going forward. As with any position on this team, the best player is going to play, but obviously, Marcus being the vet, that’s the way it’ll go starting out.”
This is a solid move, specifically for the Falcons, who are still in a rebuilding stage. Any NFL player will tell you that the transition from the college level to the next level isn’t easy. Ridder will spend most of his “off” time studying the playbook in order to build trust with his teammates and coaches. Not to mention that the Falcons’ schedule this season is a tough one for any rookie as the team faces Tom Brady twice (again) along with Super Bowl Champs LA Rams and runner-up Cincinnati Bengals.
Falcons Plan to Give Felipe Franks QB Snaps
Ridder will be the Falcons QB2 and spend the season learning from the six-year veteran the six-year veteran.
That brings us to QB3.
Second-year quarterback/tight end, Feleipe Franks, will get some QB reps during camp as the Falcons’ emergency quarterback, coach Smith confirmed.
“We’ll still get Feleipe some reps at certain points,” head coach Arthur Smith said following Day 1 of training camp. “When you have a limited number of reps, we are trying to make sure that Marcus and Dez get as many as they can.”
The Falcons initially signed Feleipe as an undrafted free agent QB in 2021. He finished the 2021 season as a backup QB, but also saw some action at tight end, which is where his focus has been heading into training camp.
Smith using a QB at tight end is nothing new to the NFL since the New Orleans Saints are well-known to do it with backup quarterback Taysom Hill.
Could Franks be the next Hill? Only time will tell, according to Smith.
“Certainly it’s worth trying, you know,” Smith said after Franks’ NFL debut at TE on September 27, 2021. “The opportunity, he played a couple of snaps at different spots and we’ll see if it grows and we’ve got to evaluate that but yeah, he’s a hell of an athlete.”
As a rookie, Franks played nine games, with three rushes for 6 yards in 2021. Hopefully, as he develops into a hybrid player, he can see the field more in 2022––especially with Ridder settling into the primary backup role.