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Falcons sitting starters against Miami, including Desmond Ridder

This comes one year after Arthur Smith said he would give his starters more preseason snaps after a bad start in 2021.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

We have waited all year for Atlanta Falcons football and it was finally back on Friday night... in a way. Players suited up in red and black but it lacked the big names many were hoping for. For many fans, they couldn’t name five Falcons.

There are a few players who could certainly use some snaps. Actually, let’s just cut to the chase: we want to see Desmond Ridder. He was named the unquestioned starter with no real competition. Surely he should get a chance to get his footing in preseason.

Not yet, says Arthur Smith. Ridder won’t play a snap on Friday night.

This may remind you of Arthur Smith sitting Matt Ryan and Kyle Pitts in Week 1 of preseason back in 2021, eventually losing to Logan Woodside who starts for the Falcons tonight. This complaint isn’t to knock the watchability of this preseason game. After all, who really cares about preseason?

The preseason is to help get your team up to speed. Especially with the league’s much shorter offseason and limited training camp. Players are only a few weeks in practicing in pads.

Some veterans, like Cordarrelle Patterson, don’t need those snaps. You also want to keep some type guys, particularly those coming off of injuries like Pitts, out for health reasons. Players like Ridder are (we assume) healthy. But benching everyone is... controversial.

For the Falcons, 2021 got off to an atrociously slow start. Head coach Arthur Smith last year said he learned his lesson after benching his starters in preseason: the starters would see more preseason snaps in 2022. Smith didn’t blame early season losses solely on his decision to sit his players but admitted it was a factor. It makes sense too, as Smith was installing a new offense, with new personnel lead by a new rookie weapon. It took Pitts some time to get rolling despite the brain trust saying Pitts looked ready for game action.

In 2023, the Falcons need to start fast. It won’t be helped by Smith sitting nearly all of the starters. Again.