The Falcons didn’t sign Taylor Heinicke to one of the most expensive backup quarterback deals in the league for no reason. It’s a safety net in case Desmond Ridder doesn’t pan out. Thus far, turning to the veteran is looking more and more enticing for Falcons fans.
Ridder has certainly held Atlanta back at times. He ranks 29th in total QBR and 26th in completion rate. Moreover, he leads the league in turnover-worthy plays, which is the single biggest weakness of most young quarterbacks. Taking care of the football is the chief responsibility of signal callers in this league.
However, the most concerning aspect of the Falcons quarterback situation is Ridder’s lack of development. Through eight games, there’s been little to no improvement in his play. That cannot continue.
The Falcons made this bed, and now they have to lie in it. They have to see this thing through with Desmond Ridder, which is why it’s an overreaction that Taylor Heinicke should be starting games, as ESPN points out.
Because the Falcons need to think bigger!
Heinicke is a veteran who might be able to stabilize things. And he’d certainly be willing to throw downfield more than Ridder, who is averaging 6.5 air yards per attempt. But it’s hard to imagine him as the answer for a team that really looks like it could be pretty good with some competent QB play.
The Falcons are loaded with skill position talent on offense. Robinson is awesome to watch, and it’s entirely possible London and Pitts would be too if Atlanta would use them. The defense has looked pretty good under first-year coordinator Ryan Nielsen, too. This is a team that could contend for a division title and maybe more with a good quarterback.
Everybody wants to talk about the Jets trading for Kirk Cousins, but this might actually be the team that should do that. There’s a lot of talent going to waste in Atlanta right now.
The fact of the matter is Arthur Smith has to see this through. If he can’t develop Ridder into a serviceable starter by season’s end, it’s clear that shouldn’t be the route moving forward. Adding a veteran in the offseason should be the next step.
Taylor Heinicke probably could come in and give the Falcons more, but at what cost? Smith would effectively give up on Ridder after eight starts? That’s a terrible look. For better or worse, Smtih has to see it through with Ridder or potentially risk his job security.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire