Falcons: Desmond Ridder feeling much more confident heading into Week 1

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The Falcons season is set to begin on Sunday against the Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For the first time in quite some time, there is legitimate hope surrounding Atlanta’s football team. The organization finally had money to spend this offseason, which they allocated mostly to the defense, but the offense also offers several reasons to be excited.

The line returns four of five starters, and the fifth starter will be rookie second-round pick Matthew Bergeron. This could once again be one of the most fierce units in the league, and the skill position group looks very promising heading into the season as well.

First-round pick Bijan Robinson is poised to be the next star in Atlanta. Drake London is also a legitimate wide receiver #1, and even though Kyle Pitts struggled last season, there’s hope that he could bounce back in a big way entering his third season. The wide receiver group as a whole leaves something to be desired, but Cordarrelle Patterson and Jonnu Smith can help Arthur Smith create a ton of mismatches and easy completions for Desmond Ridder, who will be making his fifth start as the starting quarterback of the Falcons.

Desmond Ridder is the one glaring question mark when it comes to this team. The Falcons’ roster is poised to make some noise, but that won’t happen if their starting quarterback can’t prove to be a competent option. Ridder showed improvement each week last season, but he’ll have to make a leap in year two if the Falcons want to win the NFC South for the first time since 2016.

It won’t always be pretty. It rarely is for second-year quarterbacks, especially ones taken in the third round, but if confidence has anything to do with it, Ridder will not be shaken. He’s ready to go, even saying that he feels “a lot less anxiety” than he did prior to his first start last season against the Saints.

That makes one of us.

Like most Falcons fans, I’m cautiously optimistic about this team. They should be able to compete for a playoff spot in a weak conference and an even weaker division. However, how far the Falcons can go will lie solely on the shoulders of their second year quarterback. Desmond Ridder won’t be asked to be spectacular, but he does have to make the right decisions and show improvement each week if the Falcons want to break their five year playoff drought.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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