There’s a lot on the line for the Falcons, Arthur Smith, and Desmond Ridder over the last seven games of the season.
The playoffs are at stake, and those hopes could be dashed if the club falls at home to the Saints coming out of the bye week. A postseason berth isn’t an impossibility if the Falcons lose next week, but it certainly makes things more difficult.
Arthur Smith isn’t on the hot seat, but how he finishes the 2023 campaign could impact his job security in 2024. If the team implodes, especially if the locker room turns on the head coach, Smith could be coaching for his job next season.
And Desmond Ridder is likely to be named the starter for the rest of the season, which will probably be his final opportunity to prove he can be a franchise quarterback in this league.
As I said, there’s a lot at stake over the final seven games, and the worst case scenario is a matter of perspective. Some anarchists would prefer the Falcons to lose as many games as possible, so Arthur Blank would possibly move on from Arthur Smith. Others’ worst case scenario would be if the Falcons made the playoffs because that would make their narratives wrong.
But I’m here to tell you the worst case scenario for the Falcons and the fan base is Desmond Ridder showing just enough over the next seven games that he fools management into giving him the reins in 2024.
Obviously, it would be nice if Ridder turned into a completely different quarterback and actually took the reins, but from where I sit, that would be a gross display of complacency. Ridder being ‘just good enough’ shouldn’t be what Arthur Smith or Terry Fontenot hang their hats on.
The worst case scenario for those who want what’s best for the organization is Desmond Ridder going into the offseason as the unquestioned quarterback in 2024. Unfortunately, under this regime, that’s a legitimate possibility.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire