falcons right call switch desmond ridder

#Rookie #Desmond #Ridder #start #center #Falcons

When the Atlanta Falcons come back from their Week 14 bye, they’ll have a new starting quarterback.

At 5-8, but still within striking distance of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) in the lowly NFC South, now is the perfect time for the Falcons to make the switch. Since starting the season 4-4, Atlanta has dropped four of their last five games.

Both the Bucs and third-place Carolina Panthers (4-8) have difficult road games in Week 14 on Sunday — against the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks respectively — and the last-place New Orleans Saints (4-9) are on a bye. The NFC South is still very much up for grabs and the switch from Mariota to Ridder is seemingly a win-win.

Over the last five games, Mariota┬áhas completed only 59 percent of his passes at 6.5 yards per attempt and has recorded just five touchdowns against three interceptions. He’s been the only signal-caller to take snaps this season, is plenty used to being a backup, and could still even be used on occasion for trick plays due to his speed.

While Ridder won’t have 2021 Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Pitts at his disposal for the rest of the year — thanks to a season-ending torn MCL — the Falcons still have other weapons that could help the rookie spark the offense, like four-time All-Pro Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie Drake London. Head coach Arthur Smith could use Ridder similarly to how the team used Mariota too, as the rookie is a dual threat as well.

Ridder registered 2,180 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on 501 carries during his four years with the Bearcats and was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year in both 2020 and 2021. While he hasn’t taken the field during the regular season yet, he showed promise in the preseason, going 34-for-56 for 431 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while rushing eight times for 58 yards in three contests.

Ridder’s NFL debut is slated for Week 15 against the Saints.

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