Arthur Smith on Falcons rookie QB: “He’s [Desmond Ridder] not scared of the moment”

164220302 217 nfl at combine

If you’re looking at the box score, Desmond Ridder‘s debut left a lot to be desired. The Falcons rookie finished with less than 100 yards on 50% passing. Ridder pressed early after the team went down 7-0 before his first snap and 14-0 before his second drive. He very obviously had jitters to start the game — happy feet in the pocket, overthrowing receivers, etc., but the Cincinnati product displayed those highly regarded intangibles. And members of the Falcons acknowledged it, including head coach Arthur Smith.

“Yeah — I learned he’s not scared of the moment,” Arthur Smith said on what he learned from Ridder’s debut.

Ridder led the Bearcats to a College Football Playoff berth and looked poised against Alabama. He also played well against Notre Dame and Georiga while at Cincinnati; Ridder was always going to be comfortable in the big moments.

“They got off to a hot start, but he did a great job just staying in the moment,” Chris Lindstrom said.

Despite the early deficit, the Falcons signal caller never wavered and displayed the kind of confidence that resonates with teammates and coaches. It’s a fresh set of downs each drive, regardless of what happened earlier in the game. That kind of emotional intelligence as a rookie is incredibly rare.

“That’s how I’ve been since high school,” he said. “A lot of times guys look to the emotions of the quarterback. Are they up? Are they down? That kind of has a flow with how the offense and how the team goes. No matter what the situation is, whether it’s a turnover, a three-and-out or a touchdown, just keep those guys up.”

Now, leadership will only get Desmond Ridder so far. At some point, there will have to be tangible results, regardless if it’s a team victory or personal growth. However, some franchises, like the Jets, would love to have a young quarterback with the maturity of Ridder. It wasn’t a horrible NFL debut, but it left a lot to be desired. Nobody should be ready to crown him the savior or label him a bust. He made plenty of mistakes, but at least it’s a rookie making those mistakes and not an eight-year veteran like Marcus Mariota.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: