Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder stumbles in preseason finale

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After two measly preseason games, many were inclined to crown Desmond Ridder the rightful starter. In his debut, Ridder went 10-of-22 passing against the Lions for 103 yards, two touchdowns and an 89.8 passer rating, including the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down.

Ridder followed it up with 10-for-13 passing for 143 yards and a 112.0 passer rating against the Jets. He was much more accurate, anticipatory, and looked poised in the pocket against New York. The one downside was the offense wasn’t able to punch it in the endzone, but that’s not necessarily his fault. The group stalled in the red zone multiple times due to penalties.

However, as I’ve said before, Ridder will not unseat Mariota as the starter because the veteran signal caller has done nothing to relinquish the starting job. Against the Jaguars, Ridder flashed those rookie struggles that every first-year quarterback deals with, going 7-of-11 for 41 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and a passer rating of 61.4.

The first turnover was egregious. Regardless of what Ridder saw, it wasn’t a good decision to throw the ball into a pack of Jaguars with only a single Falcons pass catcher in the vicinity.

The second one wasn’t as troubling. The Falcons were backed up as the first half expired, and Ridder just threw it up. It was still an ugly effort to get a chunk play, but it was just a last-ditch effort to get into field goal range.

The team isn’t treating him like a normal rookie. And it’s been working out great up until the Jacksonville matchup.

“A lot of lessons learned, and I’ve got high expectations from Desmond,” Smith said. “We are going to be hard on Desmond, because he’s a good player and he can take that kind of coaching. He understands, we’re not waiting on him as a rookie. Trying to speed him up, so he made some good throws, some things he’s got to clean up, especially in the operation.”

However, like every rookie, Ridder is experiencing a few road bumps. How he responds will illuminate the kind of player the Falcons have in Ridder.

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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