After two starts for Taylor Heinicke, the Atlanta Falcons are going back to Desmond Ridder.
Ridder is expected to be back under center following Atlanta’s bye when the Falcons face the New Orleans Saints in Week 12, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith was clear that the move to Heinicke, who replaced Ridder midway through the Falcons’ Week 8 loss to the Tennessee Titans, wasn’t a permanent one. In fact, ahead of the Week 9 game against the Minnesota Vikings, Smith said that it was a one-week switch which would then be reviewed by the coaches.
Heinicke, for his part, didn’t register a win while at the helm, but he was an improvement in the turnovers department. He threw three touchdowns to only one interception and was sacked only five times in the two and a half games he played in 2023.
The Falcons lost to the Vikings 31-28 thanks to an amazing comeback orchestrated by Joshua Dobbs. The following week, in Kyler Murrary’s season debut, Atlanta was defeated 25-23 by the Arizona Cardinals.
The good news for Ridder is that even at 4-6, Atlanta is very much still in the race for the NFC South crown. Even better, they’re facing a team ahead of them next week, as the Saints sit one game ahead of the Falcons.
Atlanta is going to see what it has with Ridder, a 2022 third-round pick, with the playoffs and division title still in reach. In eight starts, Ridder has thrown for 1,701 yards, six touchdowns, six interceptions and has a 65.4 completion percentage.
The Falcons have four more division games in 2023, and outside of a contest against the New York Jets, don’t have the most arduous schedule remaining.