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Arthur Smith to announce Falcons starting quarterback vs. Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday

Taylor Heinicke came in for Desmond Ridder when the starting quarterback was evaluated for a concussion against the Titans last Sunday. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- For Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, the next 24 hours will be critical in deciding where the conversations about the quarterback in Atlanta go for the next week.

In the Falcons' Week 8 loss to the Titans in Nashville, Taylor Heinicke replaced starter Desmond Ridder at quarterback to start the second half. It was announced coming out of halftime that Ridder was evaluated for a concussion but cleared to return. He didn't, though, with the Falcons choosing to keep Heinicke in at quarterback for the remainder of the game.

Ridder said after the game that the coaching staff thought he was a little "off" and made the decision to keep him on the sideline.

Even though Ridder was cleared during the game, the league's concussion protocol requires Ridder to undergo more evaluations Monday. Smith said those evaluations hadn't happened yet, as of his early afternoon press conference.

Smith said there are a lot of variables the staff has to consider when it comes to making a decision as to who will be the starting quarterback for the Falcons this Sunday when the Vikings come into town. He also inferred that this would be a decision about the starting quarterback in Week 9, not for the remainder of the season in totality.

The head coach promised he will name the starting quarterback for the Week 9 game by Wednesday.

"We'll use the next 24 hours to evaluate," Smith said. "We'll obviously listen to the medical experts first and evaluate in the short-term what's best thing for Des, what's best thing for this team. ... I'm not going to sit here and play games, because whoever is going to play this week to try and beat Minnesota is going to get the reps."


Smith was asked point-blank: If Ridder is healthy and continues to clear concussion protocol, will he start Sunday?

"I gotta see where he's at," Smith said. "That's the best I can give you, but I gotta see where he's at and see if that's the best thing for this team this week. Obviously, it's not something I'm concerned with long-term. He's done a lot of good things, but we have to find a way to go win this game. If it's Taylor, that's what we'll do, but my concern is Des."

In conclusion: "There's a lot we need to consider as we put together a (game) plan," Smith said.

Take a monochrome look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Titans during Week 8.

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