May 26, 2024

Arthur Smith set to make a change at quarterback, reverting to their initial starter in Week 12. Desmond Ridder, who started the season as Atlanta’s quarterback, is poised to reclaim the position on November 26 against the Saints. Having served as the backup to Taylor Heinicke in the past two consecutive losses, Ridder, at the age of 24, took a hiatus after being evaluated for a concussion in Week 8 against the Titans. Heinicke took over at halftime of that game and started the subsequent two weeks.

With a 4-4 record as a starter this season, Ridder has had notable moments, including an impressive performance in the Falcons’ narrow victory over the Houston Texans on October 8, where he threw for 329 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. The Falcons are hopeful that the two-game break, during which Heinicke took the reins, will serve as a reset for Ridder.

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Despite Falcons head coach Arthur Smith initially deeming it “premature” to name a quarterback during the bye week, he acknowledged that Heinicke’s hamstring injury, considered low-grade, wouldn’t hinder the decision. Now, Ridder is slated to be the starting quarterback. The team’s goal is to establish consistency by sticking with one starter for the remainder of the season, and the hope is that allowing Ridder to settle in will contribute to this stability.

The Falcons aim to see the best version of Ridder, particularly recalling his standout performance against the Houston Texans. Following a last-second loss to the Cardinals on November 12, receiver Drake London expressed a desire to avoid developing a losing habit and suggested the need for some changes.

With their original starter back and a week of rest and recovery, the Falcons anticipate improvement. Ridder demonstrated solidity in his brief appearance to close out last week’s game, completing 4 of 6 passes for 39 yards. Coach Smith emphasized the importance of a fresh perspective for Ridder, citing the benefits of a reset, refocus, and targeted improvement in specific areas.

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