Desmond Ridder gets vote of confidence as Falcons starter from NFL insider

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The Falcons will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason. Atlanta could go big game hunting if Lamar Jackson becomes available, or the club could choose to roll with Desmond Ridder and sign a veteran free agent to compete with the third-rounder, serving as a backup if Ridder comes out of training camp on top.

It seems the latter is the more likely situation. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has expressed support for Ridder, and Jordan Palmer believes he could experience a sophomore leap similar to Trevor Lawrence. There are no shortage of Ridder supporters following his four-game mini-audition last season, including NFL insider Jordan Schultz:

Believe it or not, Desmond Ridder is off to a better start than the greatest quarterback in franchise history — Matt Ryan. 

In his first four games, 23-year-old Matty Ice threw for 669 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions on 55-of-105 passing (52.4%). He fumbled the ball once while posting a 6.4 Y/A and 5.9 AY/A, coming out of those contests with a .500 record.

In comparison, 23-year-old Ridder threw for 708 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions on 73-of-115 passing (63.5%), good for a 6.2 A/Y and 6.5 AY/Y. Ridder did fumble it three times but also finished with an even 2-2 record. Even if it is marginal, the stats say Ridder’s first four games were more productive.

The Falcons were a marginally better overall offense in 2008 than in 2022, but the defenses were much further apart, favoring Ryan. Overall, the 2008 team was a little better than league average, while the 2022 group was slightly worse than the league average by the DVOA metric.

If Ridder’s first four starts are any indication of his career trajectory, Falcons fans should feel optimistic. I’m not saying Desmond Ridder is going to be better than Matt Ryan. Developing as a quarterback in the NFL is a grind because the margin for error is razor thin, but he’s at least off to a promising start. Ridder deserves the chance to lead Atlanta for an entire season.

What has to be noted is everyone — Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot, Arthur Blank, Jordan Palmer, Jordan Schultz, etc. — compliments Desmond Ridder about his intangibles — the focus, poise, leadership, and gradual improvement each outing he displays. Never do they bring up his precise accuracy or cannon arm. It feels Ridder’s floor is so high because of that. He won’t let himself fail, despite the physical limitations.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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