Marcus Mariota is looking to rejuvenate his pro career in Atlanta. So it probably felt pretty good to have the performance on Monday night that Mariota had for his new Falcons team against the New York Jets.

The former Heisman Trophy-winner threw just two passes in the Falcons’ preseason opener against Detroit. He got more of an extended run against the Jets, where he finished 6-for-10 for 132 yards and a dime of a touchdown pass. The Falcons had a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter; Mariota didn’t play the rest of the way.

“I’m pleased with Marcus,” coach Arthur Smith said after the game. “He got into a good rhythm. The only drive I thought wasn’t very good was where we tried to simulate a two-minute situation, we got backed up and it wasn’t really clean there, but other than that I thought he was really clean when he was in there. I think he got into the offense, got into a rhythm, made a big-time throw.”

So far in the preseason, Mariota has led four drives with the first-team offense and produced 17 points. The eighth-year man has rookie quarterback and third-round pick Desmond Ridder pushing him for the job, but Mariota is the starter to begin the season.

The Falcons announced that back in July. Mariota was the full-time starter in Tennessee from 2015-2018, but was replaced by Ryan Tannehill in 2019. He spent the last two seasons serving as a backup to Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Even if Mariota isn’t the long-term solution in Atlanta, the veteran and former No. 2 draft choice could certainly play himself into a role for a quarterback-needy team with a strong season. The Falcons play one more preseason game against Jacksonville on Saturday. They begin the regular season on Sept. 11 against the New Orleans Saints.