The Falcons are entering the Desmond Ridder era.
Despite the media pushing a narrative that the club needed a quarterback this offseason, every level of the organization has voiced its support for the third-round pick. From Arthur Blank down, the Falcons believe in Ridder.
When Atlanta selected the Cincinnati product, the scouting reports and first-person accounts included a similar theme — intangibles. Regardless of the person, everyone raved about Ridder’s ability to connect with teammates, his coachability, poise, accountability, etc. — just heralded for his high character.
Obviously, a quarterback’s intangibles can’t throw a football, but Ridder’s tangibles are rarely the first compliment. Still, he can sling the rock at the professional level. He has plus athleticism and can make most throws, but somehow that’s never brought up among his teammates.
Richie Grant said in a radio interview how confident Ridder is and how everyone on the team believes in him. Tyler Allgeier echoed similar sentiments
“He already had the confidence last year,” Allgeier said. “Now he has a year under him after learning from Marcus [Mariota] – he’s just a natural-born leader. Him coming in last year, being with him the apartments last year [during rookie minicamp] and then seeing him now, that’s a big step. He always had the confidence. We’re all confident playing behind him.”
Drake London reaffirmed the command Ridder possesses, even if it’s early in the offseason.
“If something goes wrong, he’s the first person to speak up,” London said. “That’s what you want on your team.”
Among casual fans, the game between the ears is one of the most underappreciated facets of successful quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s equally as important as the physical ability to make the plays. Decision-making, reading defenses, in-game adjustments, intelligence, who the team galvanizes around, moxie, etc., are all similar characteristics of the most prosperous signal callers in this league.
Desmond Ridder displays a lot of those. Only time will tell if he can put it all together.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire