Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith may say otherwise, but it very much appears as though the team has made a quarterback change to ignite the offense. At least quarterback Desmond Ridder addressed the media Thursday under that assumption.
The second-year quarterback faced questions during his first media appearance as if he had been benched. Ridder vowed, though, that despite dropping on the depth chart that nothing will change in the way he prepares for Sundays.
“I’m still going to be the best version of myself, the best teammate I can be,” Ridder said at media availability on Thursday.. “Never want to be a negative person, never want to be a negative guy. So I’m going to go and do whatever it takes to help our team win.
“Just put our team in the best position to go win.”
Smith announced on Wednesday Atlanta’s plan to start veteran Taylor Heinicke in Week 9. The head coach made the decision to change quarterbacks two days after expressing confidence in Ridder.
“Obviously we got a lot of confidence, that’s why he’s our starter,” Smith said of Ridder on Sunday.
Ridder’s inconsistencies likely led to Heinicke taking his job. Ridder led the Falcons to two victories to begin the season despite not pushing the ball much down field. Then at the beginning of October, Ridder had more deep completions but began having problems with interceptions.
The second-year quarterback didn’t have an interception in Week 8, but he took 5 sacks in the first half.
In his first regular season action for the Falcons, Heinicke completed 12 of 21 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. He nearly led the Falcons back from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit against the Titans.
Heinicke entered the game when Ridder left to be checked for a concussion. But the medical staff cleared Desmond Ridder to return to the game.
The Week 9 showdown against the Minnesota Vikings will feature a pair of backup quarterbacks from a week ago. The Vikings will start Jaren Hall behind center with Kirk Cousins out for the season.