Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has dismissed the idea of ‘tanking’ when it comes to how he is preparing for this upcoming season.
Following the departure of Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts this past offseason, the Atlanta Falcons were on the lookout for their next franchise quarterback, something they haven’t needed to do since they drafted Ryan 3rd overall in the 2008 draft.
Right now their options are the experienced Marcus Mariota, Feleipe Franks who was an undrafted free agent last year, and Desmond Ridder who they took in the 3rd round of this year’s draft.
The leader in the clubhouse at the moment, at least according to Smith back in April is Mariota with the likes of Ridder expected to ‘compete’ for the starting job at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Marcus Mariota’s rookie season. (2015)— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) March 12, 2022
Who will sign him in free agency? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/7OBtb8zB6y
Taking a risk with Ridder
Ridder came in as part of the QB class of 2022 alongside the likes of Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis, a class that in the buildup to the draft wasn’t exactly getting a lot of praise for the quality that was there, which explains why Ridder was only the second one taken with pick #74.
Desmond Ridder has a CANNON pic.twitter.com/1IiihM3oCn— Barstool College Football Show (@BarstoolCFB) March 24, 2022
The 2023 class, which features the likes of Bryce Young from Alabama and C.J Stroud from Ohio State is believed to be of a much higher quality, which would inevitably lead to teams ‘tanking’ for them in order to be in the best position to draft, something the Falcons could have done this year, sticking with Mariota and positioning themselves to get a higher draft pick in 2023.
No such thing as giving games away
But tanking isn’t something that appears to be in Smith’s vocabulary, as he explained in an interview with The Athletic:
“This is a waste of your time and my time if you want to talk about ’23.
“It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard — that a team would try to not win football games. If you don’t, there’s going to be consequences.”
So that sends a pretty clear message to everyone around the league, the Falcons aren’t going to be in any ‘sweepstakes’ for top QB talent in 2023, at least not intentionally, they’re going to be giving it their all this year.