Arthur Smith said earlier in the week to take everything throughout this week of joint practices with a grain of salt. And that’s how the Falcons second preseason game should be taken, too. The Jets didn’t play hardly any of their starters at all on Monday night. The Falcons did throughout the first quarter. The final quarter and a half of the game, though? That time was primarily used for all reserves of both squads.
Against Detroit last week, we saw Mariota for a single drive. On Monday night against the Jets, we saw a lot more of the Falcons starter. He finished the first quarter connecting on 6-of-10 passes for 132 yards. He looked well under control of the offense, connecting with Kyle Pitts for a 52-yard catch and later Olamide Zaccheaus for a 13-yard touchdown reception that saw Zaccheaus run a beautiful concept of a route.
If we’re nit-picking Mariota’s performance, it would be that a few of his passes were under thrown. His 53-yard pass to Pitts had the tight end slowing down in his route to time up his catch. In the second drive, Mariota did something similar with a pass to Anthony Firkser that went for a 39-yard pick up. If these throws are out in front of Pitts and Firkser we may be talking touchdowns. Mariota’s final drive of the first quarter wasn’t as productive as the first two. He threw a ball into the ground intended for Qadree Ollison on second down, and followed it up by missing Zaccheaus on third down, too.
It’s the preseason, so timing will come, and it’s not something to be overly concerned with, just something to note. But hey, 132 yards for Mariota in one quarter isn’t too bad of a night. There are just some things timing-wise to clean up for the veteran quarterback moving forward.