The Atlanta Falcons benched quarterback Desmond Ridder in favor of Taylor Heinicke this week. The Falcons lost unceremoniously to the Carolina Panthers 9-7 in a wet, sloppy game in Charlotte on Sunday.
The Falcons appeared to have the game in hand before another late, red zone turnover from Ridder breathed life into the Panthers. Head coach Arthur Smith announced on Tuesday that the Falcons would go with Heinicke the remainder of the season.
Ridder opened up to the media on Wednesday, and he appears to be taking the demotion in stride.
“In this situation, it’s obviously tough,” said Ridder to reporters on Wednesday. “I’m not going to say you’re losing the job of your life as a starter, but I’m still living the dream. Everyone wants to play in the NFL. I’m just blessed and thankful that I’m still here. I’m going to keep continuing to work; keep continuing to get better.”
“And try to be the best teammate possible.”
Ridder understands he wasn’t playing well, and took accountability of his crucial interception better than he did immediately after the game.
“At the end of the day, it’s performance based,” said Ridder. “I wasn’t performing to the ability that I knew myself, and I know that Coach Art knows that I can play to. You look at the main overlying issues. You talk about the turnovers. Yeah, those are going to happen.”
“The pick last weekend against Carolina was probably the dumbest play I’ve made in my career,” said Ridder.
“Things happen; mistakes happen. It’s how you learn from them, how you grow from them, and how you get better.”
The Falcons will be in the market for a quarterback in the offseason after shuffling Ridder and Heinicke in and out of the lineup.
However, Ridder will have the opportunity to compete for the job, but he’ll face an uphill battle against a high-profile signal caller brought in via trade, draft, or free agency.