Falcons’ Marcus Mariota on ball-handling: ‘It’s something that we’re continuing to work on’

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota has had a fumble or a bobbled snap at key times in each of the four games this season.

The Falcons (2-2) are set to play Tampa Bay (2-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

He was asked if the ball-handling issues are being addressed in addition to other matters during his weekly meeting with the Atlanta media Wednesday.

Here’s what Mariota had to say:

On preparing for Tampa Bay: “First and foremost, practice out here was great. Guys are flying around. What’s fun about this young team is guys are just really hungry about improving. They’re not looking too far ahead, they’re not looking in the past, they’re really just focused on the present day, and I think if we can continue that mindset, it’s going to be very beneficial for us this year.”

On whether he feels as though he’s been playing at his full potential: “I think it’s kind of coming game in and game out. I think as scenarios come up in games, just getting comfortable in those again, so I do feel good. I feel comfortable. I feel like I’m playing within our system and no matter what, I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

On how he keeps track of where he is on the field when he escapes the pocket: “I honestly don’t even think about it. I’ve been caught before in my career, being past the line of scrimmage, but I really think it’s just kind of a feel thing. You can’t peek and then try to find where the guy is at, I think you just got to have a feel for it.”

On whether he feels a responsibility to teach the young backs: “These guys are great, they’re great. It doesn’t matter who stepped up or who’s been in the game, these guys know what to do, and they’ve executed well. So, for me, it’s kind of just as usual.”

On whether the team rushing for 200 yards is an opportunity for him: “Yeah, and I think for us as an offense, it creates versatility. It allows us to do a lot of different things that create a lot of different looks. So, no matter what I think, what’s going to set us apart is week in and week out, we’re going to attack teams differently. If it’s like last week where we’re running for 200 yards, maybe it’s another week where we’re throwing it for 200. It just kind of depends on what they’re giving to us and where we can execute and score points.”

On whether he feels the different launch points are fun and whether they fit his playing style: “Absolutely, absolutely. It allows me to kind of get into the feel of the game. I think sometimes, especially for me as a quarterback, when you’re dropping back and you’re constantly going into the same spot, you kind of get numb a little bit, so for me to kind of get around and move around, it kind of makes me feel like I’m in the game. I can run around and use my legs.”

On fixing his ball-handling issues that have come up in every game: “Yeah, that’s day in and day out. Every single day at practice, we start with a (center) and (quarterback) exchange. So, it’s something that we’re continuing to work on, and we’ll clean up.”

On what impresses him about RB Tyler Allgeier’s game: “Oh, wow. He runs and runs hard. I think a credit to this entire young class that has come in, they’re smart as well. I’m not back there telling him what to do. He knows what he’s got going on, and I think that has allowed him to play fast and execute well. So, credit goes to him for knowing the system and also just running hard.”

On whether he feels this offense is among the most versatile he’s been a part of: “I would say so. I think just the way that how we can attack defenses, it varies week in and week out. Which is a lot of fun for me to plan because I think when teams start to cue in on what you do, it makes it tough, and makes it tough to throw the ball and it makes it tough to run the ball. So, the fact is I think our coaching staff does a great job of exposing a bunch of different looks and allowing us to really just play and feel free.”

On what he sees from Tampa Bay’s defensive front: “Tough man, tough. A lot of credit goes to them. It’s been a top rush defense for three years now, and it’s really when it starts up front with Vita (Vea). He’s a force, man. I played him when he was in college, so I got him when he was a freshman. I was a little lucky, that entire line, that entire group, they fly around, they’re stingy and, it’s going to be a good challenge for us on Sunday.”

On Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield: “With Carlton (Davis) and (Jamel) Dean, they do a great job, even with Logan (Ryan), who I’ve played with before, they do an unbelievable job of disguising and doing some different things. So, it poses some problems for us. It’s going to be one of those things that we have to be able to communicate coming off the sideline, making sure everyone’s on the same page because they do create some problems for us.”

On whether he feels this week’s game is going to be the test of the run game: “Yeah, absolutely. I think as we continue through the season, with how our guys are playing, teams are going to be geared up to do that, so we understand that. I think at the end of the day, it’s always going to be about us. If we’re on our P’s and Q’s and we’re executing and everybody’s on the same page, I think we can do really what we want to do on offense.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.

Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

BYE WEEK

Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD