1. Put Desmond Ridder in a position to succeed
The biggest criticism of Arthur Smith this past season was first his loyalty to Marcus Mariota and then the game he called in rookie Desmond Ridder’s first game. You have a young rookie quarterback who has very little talent around him and are calling a deep shot and difficult throws in the rookie’s first start.
Anyone who watches football understands the importance of taking the pressure off of a young player, especially a quarterback, and helping him find a rhythm. Atlanta’s play calling in Ridder’s debut was terrible and that blame falls on the shoulders of Arthur Smith.
Ridder deserved a chance to run the same basic offense Marcus Mariota had been running for the first thirteen games of the season. Ridder has far more arm talent than Mariota but needed the chance to get in a rhythm before being asked to make the big plays. From how long Smith took to put Ridder into the starting lineup to the plays he called once he was out there obviously the head coach’s biggest mistake of the season and something that must change in 2023.
In a run-heavy offense if Ridder is the starter week one the first three games of the season should be treated just as Mariota was giving the young quarterback a chance to throw simple routes and find early momentum that can be built upon both as the games and season wear on.