Right or wrong the focus of the Atlanta Falcons has been on the Desmond Ridder debate and what the quarterback is or isn't capable of being. Simply glancing at early box scores debate shows and much of sports media has seemingly already written Desmond off.
This does come with a level of validity when watching the first few games of Ridder's career. Desmond didn't show an ability to throw the ball deep, learn from his mistakes, or make consistent plays when the run game wasn't working.
After two games in which the offense and Ridder in particular looked lost and couldn't manage to score ten points many called for a change at the position. This writer can be counted among those who suggested Atlanta consider another option.
This roster and team is far too talented to waste the year if Ridder isn't going to be able to make adjustments and learn from his mistakes. While the mistakes are still far too many what we have watched over the last three games is a quarterback that has grown and proven far more capable than what we saw in the first games of his career.
Ridder has shown he can make every needed NFL throw over the past three weeks as well as create when the play breaks down with his legs. Yes, the turnovers must stop and if they continue to happen 2 to 3 times a game over the next few weeks it may again be time to consider a change.
However, what so many are missing in the quarterback discourse is regardless of who is right or wrong on Desmond Ridder there isn't a better option waiting in the wings. With the Vikings winning Kirk Cousins looks to be safely off the market. This leaves the Falcons turning to who exactly if Ridder isn't the answer.
Taylor Heinicke is a great quarterback for Arthur Smith's system and you can win games with him as your starter but you aren't going to win because of him. There are a myriad of plays that Ridder has made in the last three weeks that Taylor simply isn't capable of making.
This isn't a shot at Taylor who could still prove to be the safer option but merely the reality of the quarterback discussion. Ridder has far more ability and Atlanta cannot afford to give up on him until they are completely sure he is a finished product.
Perhaps the turnovers are who Desmond is and he isn't going to be the starter by season's end. Or perhaps a young quarterback that is learning on the job will yet again surprise fans as he did against the Texans and continue to evolve.
A season that ends with Taylor Heinicke starting is going to have a frustrating end and an off-season full of questions. Whether or not he is the starter long term the Falcons are going to be at their best if Desmond Ridder continues to develop and finds a way to quiet the noise and lock down the starting job for the rest of the season.