Bair Mail: About Marcus Mariota, the role of Cordarrelle Patterson, Olamide Zaccheaus and expansion of Kaleb McGary

Man. The Falcons really looked good in Sunday’s 28-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers. They looked good on record as well, appearing dominant throughout all phases of play.

It also raises a lot of questions, especially about the polarizing quarterback having a great day at the office. Marcus Mariota was outstanding in Week 6, completing 13 of 14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 50 yards and scored on the field. Can he rinse and repeat? We cover that topic, Cordarelle Patterson’s role when she returns from IR, whether the Falcons should extend Kaleb McGary, Olamide Zaccheaus’ strong start and we talk a little bit of the playoffs in the mailbag this Monday.

Chrystian Price from Canton, Ga.

Hey bair, you could say now Mariota has one good game with 0 errors. Can he continue to sustain production from the 49er’s games or will he return to his pre-game game. I hope he can continue his game because he played well for the first time since the season started. I just hope he can continue that gameplay and not fall back into the glitch ridden games we’ve seen before. Any thoughts on how he continues to build from his play from the 49ers games or whether he will return to previous gameplay.

Bair: Chrystian was one of several who asked this question, and I chose this one for the phrasing, which has a bit of the cynicism that is common in posts. I like the concept of progress and building on recent results.

Look, Mariota is as efficient and impactful as it gets in Sunday’s win over San Francisco. And, up to the point above, Mariota has committed too many critical errors in previous games. Four interceptions and seven fumbles (three losses) in five games is too many. There’s no discount on that.

But I think we saw how good this Falcons team can be when avoiding big mistakes and staying out of their own way. I think there is a case to be made here that Mariota is making progress and we will see his game improve in the long term. We forget that he barely played in the two and a half years between sitting on the bench at Tennessee and taking over as the Falcons’ quarterback. He made 30 passes in a while, most of them in one game.

Mariota is getting used to this again, and making better decisions as his confidence grows. You can see it in his willingness to make tight window throws, when to tuck them in and when to keep them. He glides more, is safer and is smarter with the ball. He wasn’t asked to throw a ton, but we’ve seen efficiency gains. That’s what a good track team needs. I have faith in Mariota and do so even when criticizing him for making too many mistakes. He’s a QB1 now and, if he can put together more games like Sunday, the Falcons will win more times than they lose.

There will probably be a time where the Falcons fall behind or go off course and he has to bowl more than 30 times. Can they win that way too? I think they can, but Mariota has to go out and prove it.

Hey Bair, even though I hate having to ask this question because, well, I love Patterson, but I think it at least fits the “nice problem to have” mold so I’m asking it anyway. With the ground game still producing at a fairly high level with Allgeier and co. If that’s still the case when Patterson gets ready to return from IR, do you see his return to the main weapon type role of the “Swiss army knife” or do we see Arthur Smith wanting to continue riding on what works and wants to do? make the backline more like a platoon/timeshare between the three of them?

Bair: I don’t think Arthur Smith wants to run Cordarelle Patterson as much as he did earlier in the season, but the Falcons are bumped in position and Patterson is running so well it’s hard not to feature him on offense.

There’s definitely room for Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley to continue to carry the goods, even with Patterson on the field in the slot or out wide. All that said, let’s be honest here: Patterson is the more dynamic player and just doesn’t get as close. He will get his luggage and catch it as soon as he is ready and available. Have the other one spell it out and pick up some of the rough stuff in his plate.

One interesting dynamic can occur after Damien Williams is appointed to return IR. Did you cut Huntley? I’ll bet he will be claimed from waivers. And it will be difficult to keep six defenders on a 53-man list. They will have a tough decision ahead of when and if Williams is ready to leave.

A quick question for you Bai. As I watch the games I see Olamide Zaccheaus more and more, getting good catches and putting in tough plays like reach out or first down in 3rd. Do you think with Pitts coming back and sharing defensive focus with London we might see OZ get more targets?

Bair: It’s very clear, Aarya, that Marcus Mariota and Olamide Zaccheaus have a great relationship. His target count wasn’t all that high, but he was making big plays when it mattered most. That third down play on the first drive that led to big yards. Zacchaeus has consistently been open and where he should be, a point I made to him during last week’s conversation.

He tells me his pre-snap readings and better understanding of defensive coverage has helped him this season. He is a smart player and has stepped up his game now, turning in good numbers. So far, he has 16 catches for 271 yards (16.9 ypc) and two TDs on just 18 targets. Only two passes to him hit the ground. That’s amazing, and OZ’s production and reliability have been a real asset to this offense.

Brian Henderson of Sparks, Nev.

Hey Bair, I mean, what a weird game. We all know the Niners are drained on the defensive end but I still think there is a lot to be proud of. None more than Caleb McGary, Washington’s oddball shows why he deserves to be our RT for years to come. We’ve touched on Lindstrom and Dalman a lot and what a cost to them to turn this line around, but McGary’s rise is just as important. Do you think he’s done enough for us to hand out contracts to keep him around? I think we can find a suitable contract for the player and the team and keep our right side intact. Thanks for everything you guys do!

Bair: I agree with you, Brian, that Kaleb McGary is having his best season to date, and that will come in a contract year, after the Falcons rejected his fifth year option. He blocks very well and protects passers admirably. He also has solid chemistry with right guard Chris Lindstrom, and running to the right is a tempting proposition.

Should the Falcons extend McGary. Will first-round picks want to test the open market? All of those things factor into what the Falcons might do in that spot. If I were Terry Fontenot, I’d at least explore the prospect of a long-term deal, to see how close the two sides are on compensation. That could give an idea of ​​what the Falcons might do there, but O-line continuity is king and keeping McGary and Lindstrom – who are eligible for major overtimes, perhaps later this season – would be a good thing.

Neil Willsher of Northamption, England, United Kingdom

Six games have been played and we have played them all. There’s a difference between being competitive in a game and turning it into a win, but surely a playoff push is now a serious prospect?

Bair: At this point, why not? They are tied at the top of a shaky division, playing in a league is a reign of parity (mostly). And there’s a seventh playoff spot, right now. If we can’t clear the Falcons heading into any game, we can’t outright dismiss their prospects on specs.

And, this question also allowed me to include Arthur Smith’s quote about thinking about the playoffs in Monday’s press conference.

“I’m not going to give you a Jim Mora Sr. quote,” Smith said with a smile. “But we remain focused on Cincinnati.”

Call for questions

Submit your questions here for the Wednesday mailbag. See the article : Lamar Spaulding students thank Panthers for backpack donation.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 scores a touchdown during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons midfielder Lorenzo Carter #9 walks back into the locker room during halftime during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons end Kyle Pitts’ #8 tightrope against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

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The whole game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

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Detailed shot of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Lorenzo Carter #9 during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

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Detailed view of the reflection in the eye of the Atlanta Falcon statue before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

Fans enter the stadium before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

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The Atlanta Falcons line up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Rider #4 arrives before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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View of the entire field before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

The Dirty Birds Nest cheer before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Rashaan Evans #54 makes a tackle during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

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Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier #25 rushes in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

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Ceelo Green pulls the Carriage Horn before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver #26 reacts after his second-half turnover against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 runs into the end zone in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer at the Dirty Birds Nest during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons end a tight MyCole Pruitt #85 catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

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Freddie Falcon swings above the stadium before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge #12 arrives ahead of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons Defensive midfielder Grady Jarrett #97 during the national anthem before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins #32 recovered an end zone fumble for a first-half touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons )

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Atlanta Falcons guard Justin Shaffer #75 arrives before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

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The Atlanta Falcons defeat Feleipe Franks #15 during the pre-match warm-up against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 carries the ball for a touchdown during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 arrives before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

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The Atlanta Falcons end a tight Kyle Pitts #8 celebrating with teammates after a second-half touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

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The Atlanta Falcons end Kyle Pitts #8’s thrilling #8 after scoring a second-half goal against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 carries the ball for a touchdown during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons safety Erik Harris #23 arrives before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

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