Falcons are fast tracking rookie Desmond Ridder

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There is no single blueprint on how to acclimate a rookie quarterback to the NFL. Some teams like to ease their signal callers into the league, others would rather fast track their young QBs into starting as soon as possible. There’s been plenty of successful players to take both routes. Andrew Luck immediately took over in Indianapolis and made the Pro Bowl following his rookie season. While Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith before taking over in Kansas City, and we all know how that has turned out. It seems the Falcons are fast tracking Desmond Ridder.

“A lot of lessons learned, and I’ve got high expectations from Desmond,” Smith said. “We are going to be hard on Desmond, because he’s a good player and he can take that kind of coaching. He understands, we’re not waiting on him as a rookie. Trying to speed him up, so he made some good throws, some things he’s got to clean up, especially in the operation.”

Ridder went 10-of-22 passing against the Lions in the team’s preseason opener for 103 yards, two touchdowns and an 89.8 passer rating. To be fair, Falcons pass catchers dropped at least four balls, and he threw another away. Still, on fourth down with 90 seconds remaining, Ridder escaped the pocket and tossed the go-ahead touchdown to Jared Bernhardt.

Against the Jets, Ridder was even more impressive. He was 10-for-13 passing for 143 yards and a 112.0 passer rating. He was much more accurate and looked poised in the pocket against New York. The one downside was he was unable to punch it in the endzone, but that’s not necessarily his fault. The offense stalled in the red zone multiple times due to penalties.

Ridder is rightfully unsatisfied despite the growth from the first preseason game to the second. He’s displaying all of the characteristics of a franchise quarterback as the Falcons give him more and more responsibility.

“On the field it looks like we’re operating well, but I have a couple things to clean up myself, in regards to getting the plays called and the whole operation and executing,” Ridder said. “We kind of hurt ourselves there in the second quarter. We were getting good drives but coming back and having self-inflicted penalties. That starts with me and then goes to everyone else. I think we’ll learned from it and get better for next week.”

The Falcons have an absolute gamer in Desmond Ridder. The team isn’t treating him like a normal rookie, which I believe to be the best course of action. He might not unseat Marcus Mariota as the starter; after all, the veteran signal caller has done nothing to relinquish the starting job. But the rookie is taking the necessary steps to be the franchise quarterback in Atlanta eventually.

Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
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