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Falcons to start QB Desmond Ridder for next game vs. Saints

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The Falcons are making a QB change and are going back to their original starter in Week 12.

Sources say Desmond Ridder, who began the season as Atlanta's starter, is expected to resume that role on Nov. 26 against the Saints. Ridder has been the backup to Taylor Heinicke the last two games, both losses.

Ridder, just 24 years old, was evaluated for a concussion in Week 8 against the Titans. Heinicke replaced him at halftime of that game and started the following two weeks.

Ridder is 4-4 as a starter this season, with plenty of big moments. The hope is that the two-game break during which Heinicke started serves as a reboot for Ridder.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had said prior to this weekend's bye that naming a QB during that week was a "little premature," but added that he considered the hamstring injury that Heinicke suffered against the Cardinals to be a low-grade one. In short, the QB decision would be made, injury or not. Now, it's slated to be Ridder.

The goal for Smith and Atlanta has been to name a starter and stick with him the rest of the season rather than go back and forth. Allowing Ridder to settle in should help.

Ridder's best performance of the season came during the Falcons' last-second win over the now-red-hot Houston Texans on Oct. 8, throwing for 329 yards with a touchdown and zero turnovers. That's the Ridder the Falcons want to see.

Following the team's last-second loss to the Cardinals on Nov. 12, receiver Drake London said of losing, "I don't want this to become a habit of ours. We just need to switch some things up. That's it."

With their original starter back, and a week to get rested and healthy, it all should help for the Falcons. Ridder looked solid when he stepped in for Heinicke to end last week's game, completing 4 of 6 passes for 39 yards.

"Sometimes you need a fresh perspective," Smith said this past week of Ridder. "That's what I think helped him. The reset, the refocus and working on things that I thought could help him, he's done that."

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