Skip to main content

Falcons coach Arthur Smith sticking with Desmond Ridder at QB despite struggles

Atlanta's offense isn't in a great state right now, struggling to muster much of anything in the Falcons' Week 4 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A change isn't coming at quarterback, though, at least not yet. Falcons coach Arthur Smith told reporters Monday he is sticking with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder as his starter, despite Ridder's difficulties.

Ridder had an ugly first half Sunday in London, throwing two interceptions on easily read passes, including one that was returned by Jaguars defensive back Darious Williams for a touchdown. He bounced back in the second half, leading a methodical touchdown drive that ended in a well-placed pass to Drake London for a score.

Ridder powered another drive that seemed destined to end in a touchdown in the fourth quarter, connecting with tight end Jonnu Smith twice to move deep into Jacksonville territory. That possession ultimately failed, though, when London failed to get both feet in bounds in the back of the end zone on a fourth-down pass.

In total, Ridder's performance -- 19 of 31, 191 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a lost fumble -- was a mixed bag, with more bad than good. Still, Smith doesn't feel it's time to make a change to backup Taylor Heinicke.

"I thought he came back," Smith said Monday. "It obviously wasn't what you wanted result-wise, but he gave us a chance."

A chance is better than hopelessness, but right now, the Falcons find themselves stuck somewhere between the two landmarks.

Most everything seems to be rather difficult for the Falcons offensively. A team that blatantly ditched the pass a year ago has two backs capable of carrying the team on the ground, but because Ridder has failed to prove he's a consistent threat through the air, most defenses know the best way to stop Atlanta is to deny the run, and dare Ridder to beat them. For most of the 2023 season, Ridder has failed to do so, neutralizing their potential to move the ball consistently, especially in longer down-and-distance scenarios.

Those who hoped for an explosive rookie campaign from Bijan Robinson are enjoying his highlights, with Robinson making defenders miss dramatically on a weekly basis. Overall, though, Robinson isn't finding the going to be easy, primarily because defenses know he is their greatest threat.

Ridder has been better at home than on the road, and after a trip overseas, the Falcons (2-2) return to Atlanta for a two-game homestand starting this weekend against the Houston Texans. If he wants to keep his job for the foreseeable future, now is the time to improve.

Related Content