Falcons planning to turn back to Desmond Ridder as starter
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is ready to go back to his original starter after some shuffling in the past few weeks.
According to multiple reports, Smith will turn back to Desmond Ridder as the starting QB for Atlanta’s Week 12 matchup against the Saints on Nov. 26.
Ridder, 24, was under center the first eight games of the season, leading the Falcons to a 4-3 record before he was evaluated for a concussion during a game against the Titans on Oct. 29.
He was cleared during the game but did not return and his backup Taylor Heinicke stepped in as the Falcons ended up losing 28-23.
Smith stuck with Heinicke for the following two weeks against the Vikings and Cardinals — both losses — and it was only after Heinicke suffered a hamstring injury that Ridder returned, going 4-for-6 for 39 yards.
The Falcons, on bye this week, reportedly planned to move back to Ridder “unless Taylor Heinicke went on a ridiculous run,” per James Palmer of the NFL.
The team also saw the majority of Ridder’s mistakes to be “correctable,” and they felt “he had a lot of learning to do.”
“It wasn’t like they fell out of love with Ridder,” Palmer concluded. “Needed a reset.”
It’s Ridder’s second season in the league after he was drafted by the Falcons in the third round (74th overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft.
In his rookie season, he appeared in four games as the second-string quarterback to Marcus Mariota.
In the weakest division of the NFL, Smith and Ridder have to give their best as Falcons owner Arthur Blank may look to make changes after enduring a pair of 7-10 seasons.
The Falcons sit at 4-6 in third place in the NFC South behind the 4-5 Buccaneers and 5-5 Saints.