The third-round pick hasn’t had many bright spots. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket. His processing is too slow, and he telegraphs most of his passes.
At this point, Ridder is so far away from developing into a serviceable starting quarterback in this league that Arthur Smith has to be thinking about going to Taylor Heinicke. I have absolutely no faith in Smith to make the right decision, though.
This dates back to last season. The Falcons should’ve thrown Desmond Ridder out there last year but for whatever reason stuck with Marcus Mariota for more than three-quarters of the season.
Now, the club is behind the eight ball. Ridder is clearly not the guy right now, and the Falcons cannot wait for him to grow into a real starter; he’s too far away. His seat has to be getting warm.
The only way I saw the Falcons benching Ridder in favor of Taylor Heinicke is if Ridder showed no progress. He has shown very little improvement if any at all. There’s not much he’s doing better after eight starts than what he was doing in his NFL debut last year.
The team still voices their support for the starting quarterback, but there is no way that can last for much longer, whether they say it publicly or not. There’s no doubt that Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Mack Hollins, and the defense are thinking the same things that fans are — “We can’t win with this guy.”
There’s only one caveat that fans have to consider when talking about benching Ridder. If the Falcons turn to Heinicke, they will effectively wave the white flag on Ridder’s development. There’s no turning back to Ridder if things go wrong with Heinicke.