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HomeNFLDesmond Ridder becoming starter 'performance-based' decision; Marcus Mariota (knee) likely headed to...

Desmond Ridder becoming starter ‘performance-based’ decision; Marcus Mariota (knee) likely headed to IR

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Desmond Ridder season is upon us.

Coach Arthur Smith confirmed Monday that the Atlanta Falcons will start the third-round rookie coming out of the bye this Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints.

“We’re going to make a switch at quarterback,” Smith said. “Desmond Ridder will be the starter… It’s a performance-based decision. … We talked last time about getting over the hump in some of these close games and where we try to push the offense. We feel like it’s the best decision with where he’s at the team’s at as we prepare to go down to New Orleans.”

Smith underscoring Marcus Mariota’s benching as performance-based is notable because the former starter is also dealing with a knee injury. Smith added that Mariota is getting the knee checked out, and the club anticipates him going on injured reserve.

The club recently signed backup Logan Woodside off the Titans’ practice squad.

Mariota struggled to find consistency and open up the passing game. The hope is the rookie can jumpstart the operation.

Ridder impressed during the preseason, displaying good pocket movement and stellar accuracy. But now the competition ratchets up.

At 5-8, the Falcons still have a shot at the postseason in a struggling NFC South. It’s all on the rookie to spearhead a strong finish and show he can be the future under center in ATL.

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