Falcons: The Desmond Ridder Era has begun in Atlanta

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The Atlanta Falcons are officially turning to rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder, per Ian Rapoport. Coming out of the team’s bye week, Ridder will supplant Marcus Mariota as the starting quarterback.

Mariota has been the subject of controversy for several weeks now, especially after the Falcons latest loss to the Steelers. The veteran posted another less-than-stellar stat line — 167 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on 54.2% passing — including a game-sealing interception. After Mariota’s poor performance on Sunday, Arthur Smith left the door open to a quarterback change as the team falls further and further out of playoff contention. And now, it’s official.

Desmond Ridder will most likely inevitably struggle and then be criticized in the same manner as his predecessor. But the idea behind the position change is to groom the rookie for next season, where he will be the assumed starter and have his first real audition to be the team’s franchise quarterback. The Falcons still have a few games left, but sweeping judgments shouldn’t be made on the Cincinnati product in 2022. More than likely, it won’t net better results than Mariota. It’s just the beginning of trying to find a long-term solution.

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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