He was always divisive among fans, but he’s the best signal caller in franchise history. He completely revitalized an organization at its lowest point following the Michael Vick and Bobby Petrino sagas. Fans may have taken him for granted because it’s been nothing short of mediocre football in Atlanta ever since.
Marcus Mariota played himself into an internet meme on a rainy Thursday night contest against the Panthers, and Desmond Ridder looked like he still had the training wheels on during his four-game stretch.
Atlanta is now searching for its next franchise quarterback, giving the third-round pick free reign in 2023. He’s got the supporting cast to be successful, but will he prove to be the long-term solution for the Falcons? Cordarrelle Patterson, a respected veteran across this league, seems to think so.
Cordarrelle Patterson on Desmond Ridder: "He’s QB1. He’s going to be QB1 for a long time so we are going to rally with him. Whatever he needs from us, he’s going to get."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) July 26, 2023
Now, obviously, Patterson and every other veteran on the team are going to support Ridder. By reports, it seems he’s got the leadership and intangible aspect of the position down pat. Gaining the respect of the locker room is an important and often forgotten facet of being an NFL quarterback.
However, galvanizing the troops will only get Ridder so far. Eventually, he will have to produce. There were flashes of brilliance in his first four games, but it was mostly bad, plagued by poor anticipation and accuracy. Those can be remedied, though. Footwork, mechanics, and experience should improve his game.
I hope Cordarrelle Patterson is right, and Desmond Ridder proves to be the next franchise quarterback because this roster is ready to compete for a playoff spot right now, given the Falcons are in the worst division in football.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire