The Falcons are giving the reins to Desmond Ridder with the hope he proves to be the future franchise quarterback to succeed Matt Ryan.
Most are skeptical of that coming to fruition; after all, he was a third-round pick for a reason. He needed some seasoning and got it during his rookie campaign, sitting and learning (for better or worse) behind Marcus Mariota until the final four weeks of the 2022 campaign.
The mini four-game audition was a bag of mixed results, but Ridder certainly didn’t do anything to solidify the starting gig in 2023. He did improve marginally each week and didn’t turn the ball over, even if he had a couple of turnover worthy plays. That’s all you can really ask from a rookie third-rounder.
I believe Ridder can be an average starter in this league, but that projection doesn’t seem to match up with Chris Simms‘ assessment of the Cincinnati product.
“I look at (Ridder) as almost like a poor man’s Ryan Tannehill and what he did for Tennessee and Arthur Smith,” Simms said, via Daniel Flick of Sports Illustrated.
Now, it might seem a bit lazy to compare Ridder to Tannehill due to the connection to Arthur Smith, but I don’t hate the comparison.
During Smith’s time in Tennessee, he coordinated the offenses of Tannehill’s best two seasons as a pro, culminating in 2020 when the duo led the Titans to the AFC Championship game.
Ryan Tannehill was seen as a bust before Arthur Smith got his hands on him in Tennessee. He flamed out in Miami and even backed up Marcus Mariota before seizing an opportunity and running away with it when Mariota went down with an injury.
Still, even with Smith, Tannehill was never considered a consensus top 10 player at his position, though you could make an argument for his 2020 campaign. Much of his career can be described as average to below average, so it’s not exactly a compliment to be dubbed the poor man’s version of him.
I wouldn’t go that far, but the Falcons seem to know a thing or two the general public doesn’t. Physical ability aside, Ridder is heralded for intangibles — leadership, poise, etc. And no, those aren’t going to get the ball to Kyle Pitts and Drake London alone, but they’re critical in successful quarterbacks. Simms at least acknowledges that positive.
“His intangibles jump out to you,” Simms said, via Daniel Flick of Sports Illustrated. “Desmond Ridder has your starting quarterback charisma and command. He knows how to take a joke and criticism. They’re believing in that, and they believe they can fix some of the issues in his physical play.”
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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