On Wednesday Arthur Smith announced that Taylor Heinicke would be taking over as the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons for at least this week. It has generally been a revered move but, as with everything, not everyone is in agreement with the decision.
Former quarterback and current ESPN analyst, Dan Orlovsky, has made it clear that he is surprised by the move because Ridder had made some great throws through the weeks.
Dan Orlovsky "surprised" by the Atlanta Falcons benching of QB Desmond Ridder
I think most of us read the writing on the wall early in the week when Arthur Smith announced that he would be naming a starting quarterback during Wednesday's presser. One could only assume that he would have just named Desmond Ridder the starting quarterback right then and there if that had been the decision. Delaying the news was a huge hint that Taylor Heinicke would be making his first start with the Falcons in week nine.
Some people were caught off guard. Namely, Dan Orlovsky who is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. He has covered the college game and the NFL and has always focused on the position he played—quarterback.
If you have watched Desmond Ridder in-depth then you can certainly see where he is coming from. Ridder had been getting more and more comfortable throughout the season. He had made some quality throws but things ultimately boiled down to two things—being hesitant and turning the ball over.
Orlovsky even saw it in person when he was one of the announcers in the booth that called the Falcons game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ridder did not have a great first half, he made two horrendous throws that were intercepted and he just didn't look confident. However, and I said this after rewatching the game that week, he came out and had an excellent second half.
I am sure we will say/hear this a million times, there is a lot to like about Ridder if he can just clean up the turnovers. Some of them were not his fault but most of them were. He had numerous plays where you couldn't help but ask 'What in the world are you doing?!' But then he would start firing passes into tight windows and you would get excited.
Now Ridder gets to take a step back and learn without all the pressure of being out on the field. Do not count him out, he will be back in a starting role with the team at some point.