Despite the fact that the Atlanta Falcons started training camp for its 2022 season on Wednesday and are 45 days away from their Week 1 matchup, the team has deemed itself ready to name its starting quarterback.

Saint Louis alum Marcus Mariota will be the starter under center for the Falcons when the team opens the regular season against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11 at 7 a.m. HST.

On Wednesday, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith announced Mariota as the team’s 2022 starter.

The expectation in Atlanta is to have Mariota start while 2022 third round pick Desmond Ridder gets groomed and mentored.

Mariota, who is entering his eighth NFL season, has not started a game since 2019.

“I feel very comfortable and being around (Smith) for all that time in Tennessee, I think that’s where it comes from,” Mariota told Atlanta media of Smith, his offensive coordinator during his time with the Titans in 2019. “I think he’s done a great job of collaborating and creating new things and for us as an offense, it’s exciting. It allows us to go and play fast and do some creative things but for the most part all in all, I feel really comfortable, I feel really confident and I’m excited where we’re at.

“For me, it’s a great opportunity to kind of just prove not only to myself but to those who have believed in me so I’m excited. The last couple of years was a great reset and I learned a lot from Derek (Carr), I learned a lot from being there but I feel ready to go and again I’m excited for this opportunity. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team out and just be the best that I can be.”