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Falcons' Marcus Mariota Likely to Be Put on IR with Knee Injury; Ridder to Start

Erin WalshDecember 12, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 16: Marcus Mariota #1 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota will likely be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, head coach Arthur Smith told reporters Monday.

The Falcons were already set to replace Mariota with rookie Desmond Ridder.

Mariota signed a two-year, $18.75 million deal with the Falcons during the offseason following a two-year stint with the Las Vegas Raiders.

In 13 games this season, he has completed 61.3 passes for 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He has also rushed for 438 yards and four scores.

The 2015 second overall pick said he signed with Atlanta because Smith told him he had an opportunity to start right away following the team's decision to trade Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts.

"It really came down to the opportunity," Mariota told reporters. "He said there's a chance for you to play, a chance for you to start right away. Really for me at this point in time in my career, that's what I was looking for."

Mariota appeared in 11 games with the Raiders but didn't make any starts, completing 18 of 30 passes for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 175 yards and two scores.

Before joining the Raiders, the 29-year-old spent the first five seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans. He was inconsistent during his time with the Titans and was labeled a draft bust.

That said, Mariota has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He missed four games during the 2015 season with a sprained MCL and one game in 2016 after breaking his fibula.

Mariota then missed one game in 2017 with a hamstring strain and two games in 2018 with a neck stinger and elbow sprain. He started six games in 2019 before being replaced by Ryan Tannehill.

He suffered a quad strain last year with the Raiders and was placed on injured reserve and missed five games.

Ridder was a third-round pick by the Falcons in the 2022 NFL draft. He spent his college career at Cincinnati, winning AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021.