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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Falcons making major change during bye week

Arthur Smith on the field

May 25, 2021; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith on the field during Falcons OTA at the Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons fell further from playoff contention with a tough home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and they plan to make a major change coming out of their bye.

Rookie Desmond Ridder will replace Marcus Mariota as Atlanta’s starting quarterback in Week 15, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

The Falcons have lost four of their last five games to fall to 5-8 on the season. Mariota has not played well during that stretch. The veteran has 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on the season. Atlanta has averaged just 155.7 passing yards per game this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL.

Star tight end Kyle Pitts suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 12, which only added to the Falcons’ problems on offense. Head coach Arthur Smith said last month that he had not considered making a quarterback change, but he told reporters after Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the Steelers that “every job is open.”

Atlanta selected Ridder in the third round of this year’s draft. It is unlikely that things will improve much with the former Cincinnati star under center, but the Falcons really have nothing to lose at this point.

The Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in Week 15 after their bye.


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