Despite coming up short in each of his first two career starts, Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder has flashed potential and should earn a chance to win the job next season.
The former Bearcats star quarterback was drafted by Atlanta in the third round last April before eventually being promoted to starter this month after Marcus Mariota suffered a knee injury.
In his first NFL start two weeks ago, Ridder finished with 135 total yards and zero touchdowns, while completing 13/26 of his passing attempts in a 21-18 loss at the New Orleans Saints.
Ridder was under pressure for most of the night as the Falcons allowed four sacks in the loss. It was difficult for Ridder to find open receivers downfield as he averaged just 3.7 yards per pass.
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Even though Atlanta’s offense continued to struggle in a 17-9 loss against the Baltimore Ravens last week, Ridder showed noticeable improvement with decision making and pocket presence.
The Louisville product completed 22/33 of his passes for 218 yards and 6.6 yards per attempt but didn’t have nearly as much success on the ground with just seven rushing yards at Baltimore.
Ridder definitely has a lot of room to improve but seems headed in the right direction. The Falcons are set to host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon and Ridder is expected to start.
During his career at Cincinnati, Ridder became one of the best quarterbacks in program history after receiving back to back AAC Offensive Player of the Year awards as a junior and senior.
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Ridder spent four seasons in Cincinnati and became the third winningest quarterback in college football history before being drafted by the Falcons in the 2022 NFL Draft in late April.
Even though it remains a longshot, the Falcons still have a chance to reach the playoffs if they can finish the regular season on a win streak and Ridder has a great opportunity to lead the way.
In his preseason debut against the Detroit Lions in August, Ridder found a way to propel Atlanta to a last-second win with a game-winning touchdown pass with less than two minutes left.
Ridder totaled 103 passing yards, 59 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the win. The rookie quarterback completed 60.7% of his attempts in three preseason games including a pair of wins.