May 26, 2024

The Atlanta Falcons have faced challenges during the 2023 NFL Season, despite high expectations after drafting Bijan Robinson in the first round. Despite the team’s talented young skill-position players, uncertainties lingered about the performance of quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 17: Desmond Ridder #9 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass during the second half of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Throughout the season, both Heinicke and Ridder have had opportunities to start, with varying levels of success. Recent struggles, including two consecutive losses, led to reports from The Athletic’s Josh Kendall indicating Ridder’s second benching of the year and Heinicke’s return as the starter in Week 16. Kendall suggests that this move might signify more than a short-term change, hinting at a possible permanent departure from Ridder, concluding a two-year experiment with the 2022 NFL Draft third-round pick.

Looking ahead, the Falcons face the challenge of moving forward, having drafted skill-position players in the first round for three consecutive years. The key question is how they will address the quarterback position to complement talents like Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts. The approach, whether signing a veteran or pursuing a first-round rookie, remains uncertain. Change seems inevitable in Atlanta, and a quarterback switch appears to be one of the most plausible options in the upcoming offseason.

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