On Monday, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith declared Desmond Ridder as the team’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Ridder will replace Taylor Heinicke, who started Atlanta’s previous two games before injuring his hamstring in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. While Ridder will officially get his job back, Heinicke may not return to his backup role just yet.
According to Smith, Heinicke has not fully recovered from his hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day going into Week 12. If Heinicke can’t play on Sunday, the Falcons will look to third-string quarterback Logan Woodside to back up Ridder.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said Logan Woodside will be the backup quarterback Sunday against Saints if Taylor Heinicke is not fully ready. Heinicke's practice status is day-to-day as he continues to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained against the Cardinals.
— Terrin Waack (@TerrinWaack) November 20, 2023
Woodside has been inactive for all 10 games this season, but that’s mostly due to the NFL’s emergency third quarterback rule that was implemented over the offseason.
This rule gives teams the option of playing an inactive quarterback if both active quarterbacks on the roster get injured during a game. Woodside, 28, played in the preseason for Atlanta.
Despite his lack of regular-season experience (one career completion), Woodside can operate Smith’s system. We’ll have to wait until the team’s Wednesday injury report to learn Heinicke’s official injury status.