Taylor Heinicke talks Desmond Ridder following QB change

NFL: AUG 04 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

For at least Week 9, the Falcons quarterback controversy has been put to rest. Arthur Smith announced earlier today that it will be the veteran Taylor Heinicke getting the start against the Vikings, but he left the door open for Desmond Ridder to potentially regain the starting job, stating several times during his press conference that this is just a short-term solution.

Arthur Smith and the Falcons brass saw what we all saw this past weekend against the Titans. Ridder struggled again in the first half, and Taylor Heinicke was shockingly effective in relief, leading the Falcons to scores on four of their six possessions in the second half. This has nothing to do with Ridder’s health, and everything to do with Heinicke giving the team the best chance to win in a pivotal matchup against the Vikings.

Following Wednesday’s practice, Heinicke spoke with the Falcons media for the first time as the starting quarterback, and he mimicked what Arthur Smith said about focusing on this week.

Smith might not want to close the door on the potential of Ridder, but Heinicke has a chance to slam it shut with a repeat performance this Sunday. However, the veteran quarterback had nothing but praise for Ridder and his handling of the situation.

Ridder has a lot of faults on the field, but he’s come as advertised as a leader. He wasn’t on the sidelines pouting when he was benched against the Titans, and he’s taking things in stride following the news that Heinicke will get the nod again this Sunday.

As far as what to expect from Heinicke against the Vikings:

Heinicke provided Falcons fans with a glimpse of what he brings to the table in just one half on Sunday. He hasn’t been that successful on a week-to-week basis throughout his NFL career, which is why he entered this season as a backup quarterback. Falcons fans should temper expectations.

But at the same time, this is a far better skill position group than Heinicke had in Washington, and Arthur Smith is a much more creative play-caller than Scott Turner. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Taylor Heinicke solidified himself as the starter for the rest of the season this Sunday.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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