Falcons: Desmond Ridder growing rapport with Drake London is encouraging

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The Falcons could very well enter the 2023 campaign with Desmond Ridder as the team’s starting quarterback. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they looked to upgrade the position, but given the state of the rest of the roster, a new signal caller isn’t going to necessarily change next season’s outlook too much. The front office should continue to bolster the roster, particularly the defense, and let Ridder take the reins in 2023 for a full season audition. And nobody would be happier in that scenario than Drake London.

The franchise’s rookie receptions leader is looking to parlay a successful first season in the NFL into a monster sophomore season with Ridder under center. Their chemistry is undeniable, and the growing rapport is encouraging. London’s production exponentially improved once the Falcons decided to turn away from Marcus Mariota.

In 13 games with the veteran throwing him passes, London received 81 targets, hauling in 47 for 533 yards and four touchdowns, good for 11.34 yards per reception. With Ridder, London was targeted 36 times, catching 25 of them for 333 yards, 13.32 yards per catch. On average, he received six targets per game with Mariota as quarterback compared to nine targets with Ridder under center. Moreover, London had a 69.4% catch percentage with Ridder, compared to 58.7% with Mariota.

In every metric, London’s connection with Ridder was much stronger than the one he had with Mariota. Granted, Kyle Pitts was healthy during most of those games before the Falcons made the quarterback change. If the unicorn tight end had been healthy with Ridder, you’d expect London’s production to take a dip, even if it was marginal. Still, it’s very obvious that Desmond Ridder and Drake London have something special brewing in Atlanta.


Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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