FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons have formally made a transfer at quarterback, naming rookie Desmond Ridder the starter for the remainder of the season, changing veteran Marcus Mariota.
“It was a performance-based resolution,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith mentioned Monday. “Clearly the place our circumstances are, we talked final time about making an attempt to recover from the hump in a few of these shut video games and the place we attempt to push the offense.
“We really feel like that that is the most effective resolution the place he is at, the place the group’s at, as we put together to go all the way down to New Orleans.”
The Falcons signed quarterback Logan Woodside off the Tennessee observe squad — he has familiarity with Smith and his offense — to supply depth behind Ridder as a result of Mariota will not be on the group facility as he’s getting a power knee difficulty checked out.
Additionally, operating again Damien Williams has been launched, a supply instructed ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Williams, who’s on injured reserve with a rib harm sustained in Week 1, is claimed to be “100% wholesome and nicely rested,” the supply instructed Schefter.
Smith mentioned he didn’t know if or when Mariota would return to the power. He mentioned the knee difficulty had nothing to do with the choice to go to Ridder and he anticipates Mariota will ultimately be placed on injured reserve.
Smith confused a number of occasions that the Falcons felt they had been shut offensively however “need to recover from that hump.” That mixed with the expansion the group noticed in Ridder over the previous month helped push this transfer to deal with the total sport plan.
Smith mentioned Ridder’s development has been extra psychological than bodily by way of understanding the nuance of the playbook, the playcalls and what goes into being an NFL quarterback although he has but to take an NFL snap.
“Actually, that is what you wish to see as a rookie,” Smith mentioned. “Some guys hit partitions and so much goes on behind the scenes in what it’s a must to put together to be a quarterback and be a backup quarterback. “It is an enormous job. So, there’s so much that factored into it and we have seen numerous enchancment, which supplies you much more confidence.”
On Sunday, Ridder will throw his first NFL move towards the Falcons’ largest rival, the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta has misplaced 4 of its final 5 video games however is one sport again within the NFC South at 5-8. The Falcons have scored greater than 20 factors in simply one of many final 5 video games.
After studying he gained the job, Ridder stayed on the group’s facility through the Falcons’ bye week and threw with gamers, together with operating again Tyler Allgeier, who remained on the town through the break to start to construct extra chemistry.
“He labored his tail off to be taught the playbook and all that stuff,” Allgeier mentioned Monday. “He feels actually comfy so I am simply excited for him to get his likelihood.”
Ridder, who was chosen by the Falcons within the third spherical of this yr’s draft, is anticipated to speak with the media later this week. Final month, in a dialog with ESPN on his progress, Ridder mentioned Mariota’s recommendation about consistently reciting the playcalls was one thing that actually caught with him.
“He all the time talks in regards to the fixed, continuous of simply repeating the performs,” Ridder mentioned. “Whether or not that is in your automotive trip, whether or not that is earlier than, each little second you have acquired, that is with the ability to memorize and perceive the sport plan. That is one factor that he is helped me with.”
Smith mentioned they could have needed to change the sport plan if Ridder took over earlier within the yr, however consider he’s in a greater spot now.
“You are all the time taking a look at it. The final month or so we have been in loads of shut video games and a kind of issues we have to see evolve within the passing sport as we evolve this season,” Smith mentioned. “I just like the progress we have made within the operating sport. I believe it is one thing we expect can profit us, not solely within the quick time period however in the long run.
“That is what you are evaluating.”