Arthur Smith: Performance-based decision to start Desmond Ridder

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The Falcons officially have a new starting quarterback.

A report last week indicated the team would start rookie Desmond Ridder rather than Marcus Mariota after their bye week. The Falcons are back from that time off on Monday and head coach Arthur Smith confirmed that he made a change for the Week 15 matchup against the Saints.

“I did make a switch at quarterback. Desmond Ridder will be the starter. It’s a performance-based decision,” Smith said at a press conference.

While Smith said the decision was made because of Mariota’s performance, the former starter is also dealing with an injury. Smith said Mariota is having his knee examined and that he will likely be placed on injured reserve. With four games left in the regular season, that move would close the door on Mariota’s return barring an unlikely move to the playoffs.

The Falcons signed Logan Woodside off of the Titans practice squad over the weekend and he will serve as Ridder’s backup.

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