We have another NFL QB change, and this time it’s in Atlanta.
Week 8 saw a fleury of injuries which required some backup QBs to step up into the starting role. That seemed to be the case in Atlanta as Desmond Ridder left Sunday’s game with an injury and Taylor Heinicke stepped in. But it appears former starting QB Desmond Ridder is healthy enough to play backup this week, and he will as Heinicke is getting the nod at quarterback, with Desmond Ridder taking a step back into the backup role.
Head Coach Arthur Smith had an interesting press conference where he said it had nothing to do with Sunday’s performance by either QB, which is an odd thing to say. The difference between the first and second halves was this, though:
-Ridder: 8/12 for 71 yards, 0 TD, 5 sacks, 1 fumble lost.
-Heinicke: 12/21 for 175, 1 TD, no turnovers.
Smith said he’s all about focusing on the here and now, which has left us all in the dark. But if Ridder is healthy enough to be the backup, it seems he might have lost his starting gig.
Up & Down 2023 For Ridder
Ridder’s season has been a rollercoaster, with ups and downs aplenty. Rumors had been swirling that the Falcons might give Heinicke a shot to steady the ship on offense. Ridder left last week’s game with a potential concussion, but Smith insists his benching isn’t related to his performance in that game. However, the fact that Ridder is healthy enough to be the backup this week raises questions about his future as the starter.
Here’s how #Falcons HC Arthur Smith explained the decision to go with Taylor Heinicke after saying on Sunday that they didn’t bench Desmond Ridder because of performance.pic.twitter.com/NLCuRAS6fs https://t.co/2HX3BeQYkw
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 1, 2023
If Heinicke impresses on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine the Falcons reverting to Ridder. This game is Heinicke’s audition for the starting role for the foreseeable future, even though Smith isn’t spilling the beans on his long-term plans.
At 4-4 and with a favorable schedule ahead, the Falcons have a shot at winning the NFC South. However, inconsistent quarterback play has held them back. The hope is that Heinicke might bring some stability to the position, but as Smith plays his cards close, we’ll all be eagerly watching to see how this quarterback switch unfolds.