HomeTrade RumorsFalcons Choose to Bench Desmond Ridder Again in Favor of Starting Taylor...

Falcons Choose to Bench Desmond Ridder Again in Favor of Starting Taylor Heinicke

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According to Josh Kendall, the Falcons are benching QB Desmond Ridder for the second time this season and going with veteran backup QB Taylor Heinicke.

Taylor HeinickeTaylor Heinicke

Falcons HC Arthur Smith made the decision to bench Ridder earlier this year when the young quarterback struggled with turnovers, particularly in the red zone. 

After going 0-2 with Heinicke, the team went back to Ridder, but those same problems cropped up again. Ridder had a brutal red zone interception that led directly to the Panthers’ game-winning drive this past weekend. 

The Falcons are now 6-8 and their playoff hopes are on life support, even in a weak NFC South. This is the last gasp by Smith to try and save the season, and possibly his job. 

Ridder, 24, was a four-year starter at Cincinnati and quarterbacked the school to a berth in the College Football Playoff in 2021, the first time ever a non-Power 5 school had earned that distinction. The Falcons used the No. 74 overall pick in the third round on him in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ridder signed a four-year $5,362,959 contract that includes a $1,080,334 signing bonus with the Falcons. 

In 2023, Ridder has appeared in 13 games for the Falcons and completed 63.3 percent of his pass attempts for 2,528 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He’s added 51 rush attempts for 193 yards and five touchdowns. 

Heinicke, 30, wound up signing on with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion back in 2015. He managed to make the 53-man roster during his rookie season but wasn’t active for a single game.

The Vikings elected to waive Heinicke with an injury designation coming out of the preseason in 2017 before eventually cutting him loose with an injury settlement.

Heinicke had brief stints with the Patriots and Texans before being claimed by the Panthers. Carolina released him coming out of the preseason in 2019 and he signed on to Washington’s practice squad late in 2020. He signed a two-year, $8.75 million extension with Washington in 2021 before signing a two-year deal with the Falcons back in March. 

In 2023, Heinicke has appeared in three games for the Falcons and completed 41 of 74 pass attempts (55.4 percent) for 498 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He’s added nine carries for 68 yards. 

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