Though the roster isn’t capable of competing for a Super Bowl right now, the Falcons‘ personnel is certainly playoff-caliber. The only thing holding this club from winning the worst division in football is the quarterback position.
Desmond Ridder takes over full time and expectations are high because Atlanta’s postseason aspirations hinge on his ability. His supporting cast is stout, featuring a myriad of weapons and one of the most underrated lines in football. The defense is vastly improved from a year ago, which is notable for one of the worst units in football over the last two seasons.
All eyes will be on Ridder, and Falcons fans have polarizing viewpoints. Some believe he’s the second coming of Matt Ryan, while others can’t find one desirable attribute. As always, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but the third-round pick still has everything to prove, as his head coach noted in the opening day of training camp.
#Falcons Arthur Smith: Desmond [Ridder] has a lot of prove. We're going to challenge him. He's very confident, and he's got to go out and prove it.
— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) July 26, 2023
The Falcons’ brass obviously believes in the kid. They’ve constantly praised him every step of the way, but it’s put up or shut up time. Xs and Os, leadership, and coach speak only get you so far.
Desmond Ridder isn’t going to be expected to run an Andy Reid, West Coast system like Patrick Mahomes. Arthur Smith’s offense is relatively quarterback friendly, but the Cincinnati product will eventually have to make a game-winning drive as well as several big-time throws every week.
It’s going to be a work in progress. He’s essentially still a rookie, which means growing pains are expected. How he overcomes and learns from those mistakes will define his time in Atlanta.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire