The Falcons once again disappointed its fans. For much of the afternoon, Atlanta trailed New Orleans by more than two possessions. The Saints scored on their opening two drives and had the Falcons’ offense spinning its tires. Arthur Smith’s team fought back within one score but fumbled the game away on a fourth down that would’ve been converted had Drake London not had the ball poked out. And in his NFL debut, Desmond Ridder struggled, posting 97 yards on 50% passing. Here’s what Falcons fans had to say about his start:
Thought Ridder was making right reads. NO traditionally a 2 high safety team so Ridder couldn’t air it out like that, thought Arthur was uncharacteristic to start but got better second drive. Keep everything organic and run the ball, let Ridder hit the digs and out-breakers that
— 7s Damski (@Damski32) December 18, 2022
Ridder’s box score isn’t going to blow anybody away but he was in command of the offense and that means something. He’s a rookie. I need to know if he’s the guy or not before April. Nothing else matters (except sending Brady out sad)
— TheTrackSportsTalkATL Jake (1-0 in GOTYs) (@cantguardjake) December 18, 2022
Another thing to remember about Ridder’s first game. He’s only been working with the 1s on offense since the bye week. Timing and rapport are important between a QB and his weapons. There’s a reason why he went to London often. They already have that.
— Ev Glaze (@Everett_G07) December 19, 2022
So far Ridder is looking pretty much exactly like you'd expect a third round rookie to look
Whether or not that's better than a 9 year vet looking like a first round bust is up to you
— Carlton (@CrispyCarlton) December 18, 2022
Not the result #Falcons fans were looking for, but after just 1 game there were a lot of things I liked from Desmond Ridder.
-Confidence in the pocket
-Offense has opened up more with Ridder under center
-He's a rookie, he's going to make mistakes
-Overall leadership pic.twitter.com/DtCIKd1mYT
— Miles Garrett (@MilesGarrettTV) December 18, 2022
The playcalling has done Ridder zero favors in this one
— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) December 18, 2022
One thing is clear: Desmond Ridder’s intangibles are already franchise-quarterback material. With some young quarterbacks, acting the part is the most challenging aspect of the job. Zach Wilson has shown us that this season.
Ridder will pick his guys up, take the blame even if it wasn’t his fault, and continue bringing his lunch pail to work every day. He’s not going to let his play affect his body language. It’s apparent how emotionally prepared Ridder is for this moment. In an incredibly hostile environment, Ridder responded adequately when the Falcons went down 14-0 very early in the game, even if he was pressing a bit at first.
Still, at some point, the leadership intangibles won’t be enough. Soon, fans and the coaching staff will be expecting results. Production must come to fruition if Ridder wants the reins in 2023. This four-game tryout is an excellent opportunity for the Falcons and Ridder to determine if the team has their next starter or if the position still needs to be addressed in free agency or the draft.
I thought Ridder looked exactly how a third-round pick should. He flashed at times, with several impressive throws on the run after the pocket broke down. The fourth down completion to Drake London was a wonderfully precise strike, but the rookie first-round pick had the ball punched out, ending the Falcons’ hopes of a comeback. No fault to Desmond Ridder.
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
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