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Desmond Ridder Praised by Falcons Signees Calais Campbell, Scotty Miller

Atlanta Falcons free agent signees Calais Campbell and Scotty Miller spoke highly of starting quarterback Desmond Ridder in their introductory press conference.

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith has made it clear that he's set to enter next season with second-year pro Desmond Ridder as his team's starting quarterback.

Amidst being linked to signal callers from outside the building like the Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson and draft prospect Anthony Richardson, Smith quieted all talk.

Ridder illustrated clear progress in each of his four starts as a rookie, but Smith's decision was met with mixed reviews nonetheless, as some cited the upside in other options.

However, Ridder's peers respect him - highlighted by Atlanta's newest free agent signee, Calais Campbell, a 15-year veteran still searching for his first Super Bowl ring.

"If Ridder continues to develop and be who I think he can be, I wouldn't be surprised if we're playing late in January and potentially February," Campbell said.

The 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Campbell saw Ridder play live when the Falcons traveled to Baltimore in Week 16. Campbell was out with an injury but helped the defense prepare during the week and watched from the sidelines.

It was Ridder's second start, and he was facing a stout defense in the Ravens' coldest home game in years.

The result was a steady 22 of 33 for 218 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 17-9 loss dimmed by a lack of redzone execution.

But in Campbell's eyes, the performance left a mark.

“Ridder played his best game against us, up until that point," said Campbell. "He played great."

Campbell added that he watched film on Ridder and evidently felt strongly enough to put his faith in the direction of the Falcons' organization.

And perhaps most importantly, he's not alone.

In need of a receiver who provides a vertical threat, the Falcons signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Scotty Miller.

Considering Miller is poised to be on the receiving end of Ridder's passes, he's directly impacted by the quarterback's play and certainly factored that into his decision process.

Particularly noteworthy is that Miller, like Campbell, faced Ridder last season; the Falcons took a 30-17 victory over the Buccaneers in the season finale as Ridder went 19 of 30 for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Statistically, the contest was Ridder's best - and left Miller excited to play alongside him.

"I think it's going to be good," Miller said. "I got to see him up close in-person the last game of the regular season. I really like what he brings to the table - it seems like he has a lot of energy, can create, can throw the long ball, can really do all things you need to do, so I can't wait to get to work with him."

Naturally, teammates are expected to praise their quarterback - but when factoring in how both Campbell and Miller are impacted by Ridder's performance, their message becomes clear.

In this instance, it's also the case where actions speak louder than words ... although both express vocal support for Ridder's future.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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