Falcons coach Arthur Smith sticking with Desmond Ridder

BOSTON – Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told the media Monday there are no plans to remove struggling quarterback Desmond Ridder from the starting lineup.

Ridder was intercepted twice in the team’s 23-7 loss to the Jaguars Sunday in London, the latest in a slow start to the 2023 season. He has as many interceptions as touchdowns (three) and has led the offense - which had high expectations entering the season - to a total of 62 points in four games.

“Those things come up when you’ve got two games back-to-back that you don’t score enough points,” Smith said during a virtual conference call. “So, (I) understand the question, when you have a young player in his eighth start and you’ve got to find out….there is a fine line of being stubborn in situations.”

After the two picks in the second quarter, the Falcons wanted to see how Ridder would perform after halftime. He came out and led them on a 75-yard touchdown drive.

“To Des’ credit, obviously nobody likes the results of what happened earlier in the game, but he came back,” Smith said. “He threw two picks. One was a pick-six. See what you’ve got. See if (he) becomes hesitant. See if he’s got anything…I think he came back.”

The Falcons came close to making it a one-score game, but stalled on the Jaguars’ 6-yard line.

“Even though it wasn’t want you wanted result-wise, he gave us a chance,” Smith said. “The biggest thing we have to do it jumpstart (the offense early).”

Hollins incident: Smith believes the team is fine after wide receiver Mack Hollins snubbed Ridder on the sidelines after he underthrew a deep ball that could have been a touchdown.

“Mack is a real guy,” Smith said. “I’ve let my emotions get the best of me, too. I’m not proud of it. That’s going to happen. We’re human...everybody wants to talk about culture. It’s not the right culture if you don’t have the right guys. Mack is the right guy. I’ve made more mistakes than anybody, but those are the conversations that you have. To ignore things is not the right approach either.”

Back in the lineup: Cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was coming back from a foot injury, made his first start with the Falcons.

“I thought Jeff really played well,” Smith said. “It was good to see.”

Also, running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson made his season debut, but the team didn’t get a chance to fully utilize the versatile player after the slow start and falling into a 17-0 hole.

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