Trying to prevent a three-game skid, Arthur Smith decided to roll with Heinicke over Desmond Ridder but left the door open to going back to the third-round pick following the team’s bye week. Smith noted that he didn’t want to play a game of musical chairs, eluding to one starter for the rest of the season.
It was Heinicke’s final opportunity to convince the Falcons head coach that he deserved the starting gig; it couldn’t have gone worse for the team. Instead of getting an answer one way or the other, Atlanta left Glendale with more questions than answers.
Not just questions about the starting quarterback but whether Arthur Smith is the right coach for this team. Heinicke didn’t look great then exited the game with a hamstring injury, and Ridder came in with more of the same.
The Falcons offense has struggled mightily this season, and the quarterback is the primary catalyst, but the offensive line and Smith deserve to shoulder some of the blame too. Winning football games is a complex formula, so it’s impossible to identify one singular problem, but most of Atlanta’s issues link back to one person — Arthur Smith.
The Falcons will likely have to roll with Desmond Ridder if Heinicke’s hamstring injury is a long-term issue. It’s a terrible spot to be in with the stretch run coming up, and Smith has to be feeling the heat at this point. There’s no direction; we’re in quarterback purgatory, and the long-term picture isn’t pretty either.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire