Atlanta Falcons QB Marcus Mariota says he has “big shoes to fill” as replacement for Matt Ryan
The Atlanta Falcons went from matt ryan era by trading the 14-year-old NFL veteran to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this month and signing the former first-round pick Marcus Mariota to potentially fill the gap in the starting quarterback. Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in Oregon’s 2015 draft, was officially introduced as a member of the Falcons this week and has spoken about replacing Ryan.
“Those are big shoes to fill, no doubt,” Mariota said. “And I think for me, something that I’ve definitely learned over my career is that you can’t compare yourself to others. What Matt has done here, what he’s accomplished here, it really is greatness. And for me, I just kind of got to chart my own path.”
Mariota won a Heisman Trophy at Oregon and spent the first five seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans, but was replaced as a starter midway through the 2019 campaign and served as the backup for Derek Carr on the Las Vegas Raiders the previous two years.
Ryan completed 5,242 passes for 59,735 yards and 367 touchdowns for 170 interceptions during his tenure with the Falcons. In 2021, he passed for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Mariota admitted the starting job with Atlanta was not promised, and with the Falcons potentially selecting a quarterback in next month’s draft, Mariota remained confident in his value to the franchise.
“I’ve been a guy who’s a starter in this league,” Mariota said. “I’ve been a guy who’s won a playoff game. I’ve been a guy who’s also been benched. I’ve been a guy who’s only been a practice player as well. So I really feel like my value as a leader comes into play. relationships. I’ll be able to relate to a lot of different people because I’ve been through a lot of different things in this league. And I think to be a leader, you have to earn the respect of your teammates, and if you’re able to relate to these guys, you know that this whole process happens a little faster.
“Again, the value I’ve had in my short career is going to allow me to be a guy that people can come to, and hopefully I can lift them up and make them the best players they can be. “
Mariota played 11 games over two seasons with the Raiders, including 10 last season. He featured in Wildcat packages, often carrying the ball. In two years with Las Vegas, Mariota passed 18 of 30 (60%) for 230 yards and one touchdown for one interception. He rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
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During his career with the Titans and Raiders, Mariota completed 62.8% of his passes for 13,437 yards and 77 touchdowns for 45 interceptions. He was also a major factor on the ground, adding 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Sam Marsdale and Nick Kosko contributed to this report.