Breaks’ Over: Falcons Ridder Returns to Starter Position

It’s Desmond Ridder again for the Atlanta Falcons.

This afternoon, Falcons head Coach Arthur Smith confirmed what has been apparently decided as far as who will be throwing the ball for the team going forward this season, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. This will start with Sunday’s home game against the New Orleans Saints, a game that has become a must-win for the team as they have been on a three-straight game losing streak and are now 6-4 on the season.

“We have a lot of confidence in Des,” said Smith in a press conference. “Over the last couple weeks, he has handled it really well. There were a lot of things going on. I think the time [as a backup QB] was very beneficial for him.”

Ridder started the first eight games of the season, with mixed success, but had to be replaced by backup QB Taylor Heinicke on Week 8 vs. the Titans at Halftime due to a concussion. Ridder has been 4-4 as a starter so far this season.

Smith indicated before the bye week he would make a decision on who would be the team’s starting QB but seemed to be leaning towards Ridder because he wanted to name a starting QB and not conduct “musical chairs” selection for the rest of the season.

Many Falcons observers expected Ridder to resume his starter duties for the team.

“I would be SHOCKED if ATL doesn’t go back to Desmond Ridder after the bye week based on the way Smith is talking about Ridder vs. Heinicke in his Monday presser,” said Falcons reporter/analyst Tori McElhaney in an X post.

“No surprise at all to hear the report of the Falcons going back to Desmond Ridder,” said Locked On Atlanta/ESPN’s Jarvis Davis, also on X.  “If two games as a backup helps him clean up the turnovers, I think we see more of a flow on offense going forward.”

“Atlanta Falcons still must see what they have over the next 7 games,” added 929 The Game’s Carl Dukes.

Ridder so far this season has 6 touchdowns and 1740 passing yards, but also 6 interceptions and 7 fumbles.

by Brian Allen, founding editor, Sports in the ATL