The Desmond Ridder era is officially in full swing in Atlanta, GA. The former Cincinnati Bearcat is going into his second NFL season as quarterback for the Falcons. What can the Falcons expect from Ridder’s sophomore season?
Ridder started the final four games for the Falcons in the 2022 season. In four starts, Ridder led the Falcons to a 2-2 record while posting a passer rating of 86.4. Ridder’s passer rating was higher than fellow quarterbacks like Josh Allen(61.0) and Jalen Hurts(77.2) across those four games. Ridder passed for 2 touchdowns with zero interceptions across the four matchups.
The Falcons had the opportunity to go after proven quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson and Ryan Tannehill, but they decided to stick with the number seventy-four overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Atlanta made efforts to put formidable offensive weapons with Ridder under center. The Falcons selected former Texas running back Bijan Robinson No. 8 overall in the 2023 NFL draft. Robinson was a standout halfback for the Longhorns and earned two Big-12 first team selections. Robinson is accredited for his playmaking abilities by being able to transition from being a power back and a receiver.
No quarterback can thrive if they don’t have a strong offensive front. Atlanta decided to beef up their offensive line by drafting offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron from Syracuse and offensive guard Jovaughn Gywn from South Carolina.
Bergeron and Gywn played prominent roles for their respective alma-maters and with Atlanta trying to develop their new franchise quarterback, Ridder is going to need top notch pass protection.
Birds Ready to Hatch
Alongside Ridder in the offense is former USC wideout Drake London. London garnered over 300 yards and caught 69 percent of his passes thrown by Ridder in those four games. London posted close to 900 yards and 72 catches in his rookie season.
Falcons tight-end Kyle Pitts aims to have a bounce-back year after ending last year with a season-ending knee injury in week 11. Pitts arrived in Atlanta as the number four overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and had a highly productive rookie season. Pitts amassed 1,000 plus yards and earned a pro bowl selection in 2021.
The former Florida Gator aims to have another stellar season and prove why he went the highest-drafted tight-end in NFL history.
With a beefed-up offensive line, two young talented pass catchers, and a gifted playmaker in the backfield, Ridder has the tools to potentially become one of the leagues best quarterbacks.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons