The Falcons have scored 13 points over their last two games; it’s very clear there are issues with the offense.
Desmond Ridder has looked overwhelmed and underprepared. Arthur Smith’s decision making and elementary passing concepts can also be blamed, and the offensive had been working against Ridder but looked better against the Jaguars.
All things can be true. Smith needs to be better; Ridder might not deserve a full season, and the offensive line needs to play up to its potential. However, I think it’s fair to say that the Falcons might need to make a change at quarterback before the playoffs are out of reach.
Arthur Smith called a pass out of an empty set on 3-and-1 then decided not to get Bijan Robinson the ball late in the fourth quarter with a chance to cut the deficit to just one score. His hands aren’t clean in all of this.
From what I have seen though, it’s not even a question what the biggest reason for the Falcons offensive shortcomings — Desmond Ridder.
He’s making rookie mistakes that a lot of signal callers commit, but he’s not some 1st overall pick like Bryce Young and Trevor Lawrence, who have the benefit of the doubt and are given a bit of grace with early career struggles.
The Falcons don’t have the luxury of hoping Ridder will develop into a serviceable quarterback. It’s put up or shut up time for Arthur Smith.
He’s got a playoff-caliber roster and one of the best defenses I’ve seen in Atlanta. He is going to face these questions every single time the team loses because there’s no reason this roster shouldn’t be in postseason contention.
The sky isn’t falling. The Falcons are 2-2 and undefeated in the division. That is the surest path to the playoffs, but I’d be lying if I said I was confident Ridder is the guy to get this team to the promise land.
It’s hard to distinguish his mistakes as rookie miscues or if this is just who he is as a player. That’s not my job; however, one thing that must be considered.
If the Falcons do bench Desmond Ridder, there is no going back. They will effectively waive the white flag on Ridder developing into a starting quarterback in this league.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire