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Falcons QB Marcus Mariota leaves after benching, team unsure if he will return

According to Josh Kendall of The Athletic, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota has left the team, but there is no indication when he will return.

The news comes as head coach Arthur Smith said the team will bench Mariota for Round 3 rookie Desmond Ridder ahead of the Week 15 game against the New Orleans Saints. It will come the day after we announce that we have made a decision on the base.

“Of course we want all the players to be here, but the players have to make decisions. rice field.

Smith added on Monday that Mariota would also likely be placed on the disabled list with what Smith described as a “chronic” knee injury.

Mariota’s knee “hasn’t been a problem this season, [his] Because it’s a privilege…” Smith revealed via The Athletic on Tuesday.

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: Marcus Mariota #1 of the Atlanta Falcons walks off the field after Atlanta's 27-24 win over the Chicago Bears at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on November 20, 2022 jogging  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Marcus Mariota has left the Falcons and may or may not return. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“Conversations You Must Have”

Last week, Smith gave the press a preview of his impending decision to make changes to the quarterback.

“There are going to be very intense meetings over the next few days. Obviously I know where we are. There is,” Smith said. changes are made. Everything we decide to do is as transparent as possible. ”

On that day, Smith also informed the media Mariota was not in the building because his wife gave birth to their first child.

According to The Athletic, Smith informed Mariota that Ridder will start at quarterback Thursday morning. On Friday, the Falcons learned that Mariota was planning to leave the team.

“Them [conversations] It’s never easy,” Smith said. “Whether they agree or not, you try to be honest. It’s a conversation you have to have.”

After Atlanta traded him, Mariota joined the Falcons this offseason for two years and $18.75 million. Matt Ryan to Indianapolis Colts.

He led Atlanta to a 5-8 record, with passing yards, passing touchdowns, and competitive percentage all ranking in the bottom half of the league, and nine interceptions tied for seventh.

During the preseason, Ridder completed 60.1% of his passes for 431 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Smith told The Athletic that the Falcons believe the offense “will reach its full potential” with him in the game.

The Falcons are still in playoff contention and need to win the remaining two division games to catch up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

Now the team has a chance to see what Ridder has in store before the end of the season, with Mariota taking care of his knees and his family.

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23: Marcus Mariota #1 and Desmond Ryder #4 of the Atlanta Falcons leave the field after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 23, 2022 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio .  (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Desmond Ridder will start the Falcons’ Week 15 matchup. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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