FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Arthur Smith rapidly put an finish to hypothesis that additional time between video games for the Atlanta Falcons would offer a chance for the coach to make a change at quarterback.
Marcus Mariota will preserve his beginning job following back-to-back losses.
Requested Monday in regards to the quarterback state of affairs, Smith mentioned “There’s no state of affairs. There was by no means a state of affairs, ever.”
“You perceive why the questions get requested,” Smith mentioned. “You lose two video games in 5 days and all people needs to panic. We’re proper in the midst of it. We’re not the place we wish to be, however the actuality is we’re proper in the midst of a playoff race with a convention opponent coming in right here and a recreation we have to win.”
Mariota accomplished 19 of 30 passes for 186 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in Thursday evening’s 25-15 loss at Carolina. Mariota led the workforce with 43 dashing yards.
The Thursday evening recreation supplied additional day without work for the Falcons (4-6) earlier than Sunday’s residence recreation towards Chicago. That point was not dedicated to a transfer at quarterback. Rookie Desmond Ridder continues to be ready to take his first snap because the Falcons put together to face the Bears.
“If we had been going to make a change, I’d inform you,” Smith mentioned.
Smith mentioned “every part is up for grabs each week. If we felt that one transfer will surely be the distinction in us profitable and dropping, we’d make it. We’re not at that time at lots of spots.”
For the season, Mariota has accomplished 61.9 per cent of his passes for 1,747 yards with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His dual-threat abilities had been seen as a great match for Smith’s run-first offence when Atlanta was 4-4 and tied for the NFC South lead.
Again-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina have led to extra questions on Smith’s plan at quarterback, despite the fact that the Falcons clearly produce other issues.
Mariota accepted blame for “taking part in somewhat bit exterior of myself” within the loss at Carolina.
“I used to be simply attempting to create a spark,” Mariota mentioned Thursday evening. “I feel trying all through my profession, that’s after I get myself in most bother. Unwell-advised throws. Power issues on the sphere. As an alternative of simply perhaps scrambling, getting a number of yards and protecting the chains transferring.”
The Falcons are nonetheless just one recreation behind first-place Tampa Bay within the weak NFC South, making it tougher for Smith to think about turning the offence over to Ridder, this yr’s third-round draft choose from Cincinnati.
By way of Sunday’s video games, the Falcons rank fourth within the league with 160.4 dashing yards per recreation, however rank forward of solely Tennessee and Chicago in passing, averaging 156.8 per recreation.
There isn’t any assurance a change to Ridder would add extra steadiness to the offense. Smith’s dedication to a balanced working recreation led by Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie Tyler Allgeier has helped preserve the Falcons aggressive.
4 of the Falcons’ first 5 losses had been one-score video games, they usually had been inside seven factors towards the Panthers earlier than a change of possessions on downs arrange Carolina’s last-second discipline purpose for the 10-point win.
The Falcons produce other issues, together with on each traces. The offensive line gave up 5 sacks to the Panthers and the defence allowed 232 yards on the bottom. Now the Falcons defence should put together for Chicago’s league-leading working recreation.
“Chicago goes to come back in right here and attempt to run it 500 instances and so we’ve obtained lots of work forward of us,” Smith mentioned.
Smith mentioned cornerback A.J. Terrell, who has missed three video games with a hamstring harm, might return this week.