The Atlanta Falcons are not going to make a change under center -- at least not right now. Arthur Smith told reporters on Monday that second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder remains the team's starter.
Ridder struggled badly during a blowout loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday, completing only 19 of 31 passes for 191 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. On the season, he has a 62.2% completion rate, a 6.3 yards per attempt average and only three touchdowns against three picks. He's also taken a sack on a sky-high 11.9% of his dropbacks, according to Tru Media.
Among qualified passers, Ridder ranks 28th in passer rating, 31st in QBR, 31st in Tru Media's EPA/play, 29th in explosive throw rate and 31st in negative play rate (sacks, interceptable passes and fumbles). In other words, he is not playing at nearly a high enough level to drive the Falcons to being an efficient offense.
There was a prevailing school of thought this offseason that Ridder couldn't help but be an improvement over Marcus Mariota, but that hasn't been the case so far. Atlanta signed Taylor Heinicke this offseason to be Ridder's backup, passing on the chance to pursue players like Lamar Jackson due to the confidence the team had in Ridder being its guy. So far, at least, that confidence appears to have been misplaced.
The Falcons currently check in 10th in FTN's rushing offense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), but 32nd in passing offense DVOA. It's an unsustainable way to move the ball, and it's actually worse than what they did last year, when they checked in third in rushing and 15th in passing, but Mariota was clearly holding the team back.
If Atlanta wants to make a run at things this season, Ridder will need to show a great deal of improvement -- and fast.