'I'll be surprised if Desmond [Ridder] doesn't start the next game,' Dave Archer says

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Through 12 games, Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had been a staunch supporter of Marcus Mariota, especially as the fan base started calling for a change at quarterback. Smith's tone seems to have changed after Sunday's 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Instead of Smith's usual hardline show of support for Mariota, the Atlanta head coach said that the team will evaluate everything as the Falcons enter their bye week: "Every job."

While we don't have an official announcement, and won't for some time since the Falcons don't play again until December 18, former Atlanta quarterback and current color analyst for the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network Dave Archer shared his candid opinion with "The Morning Show with John Fricke and Hugh Douglas."

"I'll be surprised if Desmond (Ridder) doesn't start the next game, to be honest with you," Archer said and doubled down later in the show speaking on Atlanta's loss to Pittsburgh. "This one felt different to me. I will be surprised if Desmond Ridder is not the guy when we play New Orleans."

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Mariota's completion percentage has gone down in each of the last three weeks, as has his quarterback rating. He's also not thrown for more than 186 yards in a game since Week 8. Stats aside, Archer uses the eye test as reasoning for his belief that Mariota may have lost his starting job.

"This was a game, for the first time for me in watching the quarterback play that got a little sideways for him," Archer said. "He had an opportunity four or five times to make plays that he just flat missed. He had missed some during the year, but there had been plays where he made up for it and there had been reasons why, potentially, they weren't moving the ball on offense."

Archer told Fricke & Hugh that he understood the frustration this season from the fanes, but Mariota had usually "done a lot of stuff to keep [the Falcons] in games." Mariota didn't show that to Archer on Sunday.

"This game he missed guys," Archer said. "There were guys open, there were guys that he just didn't see and read. For me it was the first time all year long that it felt like… had he made a play that was there that you were going to win the football game."

Ridder, who was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, hasn't thrown a pass in a regular season game this year. With the bye week here for the Falcons, Atlanta has 13 days to decide if the first-year quarterback from Cincinnati's first attempt will come against the Saints.

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