Falcons HC Arthur Smith noncommittal to Desmond Ridder starting in 2023

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The Falcons have to add to the quarterback position this offseason. Atlanta currently only has Desmond Ridder under contract. Ridder did more than enough in his four-game mini-audition to have a shot at the starting job in 2023, but that’s as far as Arthur Smith will commit.

“We’re not naming any starters right now,” he said. “There are a lot of things that can happen. We’re very excited about Des, no different than we are about Tyler Allgeier and Drake London and the improvements they’ve made and guys who are currently on our roster. As always, all options are on the table. Anything that we can do to improve this team and help us win – and to ultimately win championships – that’s what we’re looking for.”

At the very least, the Falcons should bring in a competent backup and low-end starter to compete with Ridder in training camp. At most, they land a high-profile signal caller like Lamar Jackson, Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. Ridder has plenty of supporters in his corner, though.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has expressed support for him; Jordan Palmer believes he could experience a sophomore leap similar to Trevor Lawrence, and NFL insider Jordan Schultz has given his vote of confidence. 

The Falcons aren’t exactly one quarterback away from competing for championships, so landing a player like Lamar Jackson wouldn’t turn them into Super Bowl favorites. Nobody could argue how exciting it would be, but as far as championship aspirations, it may not be the best course of action. It would be a shame not to see what Ridder can be because his first four games were encouraging; they were more impressive than Matt Ryan’s, the greatest quarterback in franchise history.

In his first four games, 23-year-old Matty Ice threw for 669 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions on 55-of-105 passing (52.4%). He fumbled the ball once while posting a 6.4 Y/A and 5.9 AY/A, coming out of those contests with a .500 record.

In comparison, 23-year-old Ridder threw for 708 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions on 73-of-115 passing (63.5%), good for a 6.2 A/Y and 6.5 AY/Y. Ridder did fumble it three times but also finished with an even 2-2 record. Even if it is marginal, the stats say Ridder’s first four games were more productive.

The Falcons more than likely will roll with Desmond Ridder unless something incredible falls in their laps. It feels Ridder’s floor is so high because of his impressive intangibles. “I do think Des’ future is bright,” Arthur Smith said.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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