It is fair to question the Atlanta Falcons' decision not to play Desmond Ridder a single snap in their first preseason action. Logan Woodside started and finished the game at quarterback for the Falcons clearly locking in his role as Atlanta's emergency quarterback for the 2023 season.
Taylor Heinicke is the primary backup and Desmond is clearly the starter. Ridder and Heinicke both being benched in the team's first preseason action is an odd decision for such an unproven quarterback. It speaks to a team protecting a proven option or a team that believes there isn't anything left for Desmond to prove in the preseason.
It is an odd part of the season that garners a myriad of approaches across the league as to how the quarterback position is approached. This isn't to criticize Arthur Smith or the decision to keep Ridder out of the lineup.
Rather it is to question why the team deemed this game so unimportant for an inexperienced starter? It seems from the outside looking in that Ridder would greatly benefit from getting more time under center and running an offense he has only played a handful of games with.
While Ridder has had a full off-season and camp to earn reps the speed of the game clearly takes a step forward both in the preseason and again in week one of the regular season. Allowing Ridder to play at least a quarter leading this offense would have been ideal.
Perhaps Arthur Smith deems two preseason games enough time to get Ridder and the rest of the starters in rhythm. However, it is clearly an odd decision for a player that has as much to prove as Desmond does heading into the season.
Who Smith chose to play is interesting as well with Dee Alford, Arnold Ebiketie, and Mykal Walker all playing a high number of snaps. Atlanta played few other players that are expected to have a defined or starting role heading into the year.
Whether or not Smith continues to take this approach is something to watch heading into week two of the preseason. It is hard to believe that Ridder won't be given at least a handful of snaps as the second-year player prepares for a season of attempting to prove to be a long-term option.