— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) March 16, 2023
If it wasn’t already blatantly clear, the Falcons will be led by Desmond Ridder in 2023. Heinicke is being paid to be a high-level backup.
It’s encouraging to hear him embrace the role because that wasn’t the case with Marcus Mariota. When the veteran was benched with four games to go in favor of Ridder, Mariota stepped away from the team to deal with a phantom injury that never appeared on any injury report.
Arthur Smith stated the injury was his prerogative and had nothing to do with the decision to turn toward Ridder. When the team signed Mariota, the thought process was he could be a bridge starter and eventually mentor Ridder. Everyone knew it, yet Mariota was still sour when he was benched.
I’m curious to know the entire story because the public doesn’t know much.
I expected there to be an open competition in training camp between the pair of quarterbacks, but it’s clear the organization is handing Desmond Ridder the keys after an encouraging four-game stretch to end the 2022 campaign. He struggled but showed poise and improved each outing. As a third-round rookie, that’s about as much as you should expect. Now, he’ll have an entire season to acclimate himself to the NFL and try to establish himself as the Falcons’ next franchise quarterback.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire