The Falcons are making a change at quarterback, turning to Taylor Heinicke after an encouraging second half performance against the Titans. Desmond Ridder had another costly turnover in the first half, which ultimately led to his demotion.
He’s had flashes of brilliance, most of which consisted of leading a comeback due to the turnovers he committed, so it was like he dug himself out of the hole he dug. Ridder just hasn’t progressed quickly enough to justify starting him over Heinicke at this juncture of the season.
Arthur Smith has vehemently stated this is a short term decision. But how could he reason with going back to Ridder? There’s no way the Falcons can go back to the third-round pick, right?
There’s certainly a scenario where that becomes reality. It would entail the Falcons losing to the Vikings, but more importantly, Taylor Heinicke would have to look terrible. He’d have to somehow play worse than Ridder.
There aren’t many examples of third-round picks turning into franchise quarterbacks. Russell Wilson is the exception, not the standard. The odds were stacked against Ridder initially. Now that he’s been benched, those odds grow longer. There’s no precedent for a third-round pick getting benched and coming back to become the long-term answer at quarterback.
Heinicke isn’t a world beater and will likely commit equally frustrating turnovers, but there’s no way the Falcons can say with a straight face that Ridder gives the club a better chance of winning in the present.
That’s not to say he couldn’t develop into that type of player, but the cat is out of the bag. We know Heincike gives the Falcons the best shot of winning football games. There’s no way they can turn back to Ridder, or Arthur Smith will find himself on the hot seat.
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