Arthur Smith confirms Desmond Ridder, Falcons starters will play vs. Bengals

NFL: AUG 05 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

The Falcons and Dolphins didn’t play their starters, but several key contributors did get a lot of playing time.

Dee Alford could eventually become the team’s starting nickel. Mike Hughes is likely to have a significant role in the absence of Jeff Okudah. Arnold Ebiketie played well into the second half.

However, most of the notable players rode the pine. It was probably a good idea too. Unless Miami’s starters were out there, it would’ve been pointless to throw Desmond Ridder, Bijan Robinson, and the rest of the starters in the game.

In that same breath, there should be no scenario in which one of Ridder, Robinson, Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Grady Jarrett, etc. are on the field with backups. If one starter plays, they should all play, which Arthur Smith confirmed will happen next week against the Bengals.

The goal of the preseason is to enter the regular season as healthy as possible. It’s not a massive risk to let the first team get a drive or two, but the need to play an entire first half is naive.

It would behoove the Falcons to play Ridder, though. He certainly hasn’t done enough to warrant sitting the entire preseason, but then again, unless you throw the starting offensive line out there, Ridder shouldn’t be under center. It’s still important to get in-game experiences.

I imagine the Falcons starters will play a couple of drives, depending on the result. Last year, Marcus Mariota and the offense were out there for around 30 snaps, which is what fans should expect next week in Mercedes Benz Stadium.

It’ll be exciting to see this new-look team on the field in full pads in front of the home crowd.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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