Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota told reporters that he will "absolutely" mentor rookie signal-caller Desmond Ridder when asked about it during a Thursday press conference:
"Absolutely. I kind of always view that relationship in the quarterback room as important and special. I always felt that a good quarterback room can allow everybody to be better and allow everybody to grow. ... At the end of the day if they've got questions or I've got questions, they're a great set of eyes for me as well."
Mariota, a seven-year NFL veteran, signed a two-year, $18.75 million deal with the Falcons this offseason. He's replacing Matt Ryan, who started 14 years in Atlanta before the Falcons traded him to the Indinapolis Colts this offseason.
The Falcons also picked up Ridder in the NFL draft with the No. 74 overall draft pick this year out of Cincinnati.
The quarterback mentoring question has come into play this offseason after Tennessee Titans starter Ryan Tannehill was asked about such a potential relationship with rookie Malik Willis, who is now aboard the AFC South champions after going in the third round.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
"I don't think it's my job to mentor him."<br><br>Ryan Tannehill on mentoring Malik Willis 😳 <a href="https://twitter.com/brgridiron?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@brgridiron</a><br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulKuharskyNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PaulKuharskyNFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/uyAFhtmoDs">pic.twitter.com/uyAFhtmoDs</a>
Tannehill later clarified the comments and said he meant no disrespect whatsoever.
Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports
.<a href="https://twitter.com/Titans?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Titans</a> QB <a href="https://twitter.com/ryantannehill1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ryantannehill1</a> with a long, heartfelt comment about wanting to be a great teammate to <a href="https://twitter.com/malikwillis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malikwillis</a>. <br><br>Said he meant no disrespect to Malik and is disappointed with how things got twisted over his quote on mentoring. <br><br>🎥 <a href="https://t.co/4nhdlxSXhU">pic.twitter.com/4nhdlxSXhU</a>
There's no issues on Willis' end either, as the ex-Liberty star said, per Ben Arthur of the Tennessean: "We chopped it up. It was never anything negative. Ryan is a good dude. … Everything is cool, man."
Everything also appears cool in Atlanta as the Falcons try to figure out a long-term solution at the position.
The Falcons certainly have options at quarterback between Mariota and Ridder. The 2023 draft class also appears rich with prospects with potentially Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Alabama's Bryce Young, Stanford's Tanner McKee and Miami's Tyler Van Dyke all in the mix.
Atlanta is in a transitional period after the end of the Ryan era. The Falcons did post a respectable seven-win season amid a significant rebuild under new general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith.
Any quarterback drama doesn't appear to be a hindrance toward that goal as the Falcons look toward their 2022 season opener versus the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11.