Falcons’ Ridder has 4-game audition at QB with Mariota on IR

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons will have more on the line than retaining hope in the weak NFC South race as rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder makes his debut as the starter this weekend at New Orleans. Sunday’s game is the start of a four-week audition for Ridder that could help determine the Falcons’ long-term plan at quarterback. Ridder was named the starter by coach Arthur Smith on Monday. The Falcons lost their only experienced quarterback when Marcus Mariota was placed on injured reserve. Mariota will have knee surgery. Ridder will be playing to secure the inside track on the starting job in 2023.

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