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Desmond’s Development: Falcons ‘Love’ QB Ridder’s Progress

After months of silence surrounding the development of Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport put all questions to rest.

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith has made it clear that Marcus Mariota, not rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder, is the team’s starting quarterback.

With Mariota going through a difficult stretch of games in which he failed to crest 200 yards passing in six out of seven times, many on the outside felt it was time to give Ridder a chance … but Smith felt otherwise.

For some, the idea that Ridder hadn’t done enough to unseat Mariota reflected poorly on the former Cincinnati Bearcat, serving as an indictment of his development - or lack thereof.

And with Ridder having not seen the field since the final game of the preseason, it was a plausible albeit unsubstantiated claim.

However, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport put an end to that claim Sunday, delivering the news many had hoped to hear regarding the talented 23-year-old passer.

“The Falcons, sources say, do love the development of the third-rounder from Cincinnati,” Rapoport said. “In the preseason, he flashed poise and accuracy. It was enough to allow the Falcons to have him be their backup, rather than sign a veteran in case Mariota was injured. That is faith in their rookie.”

Mariota’s extensive injury history brings up a fair point in that regard, as Smith has said that Ridder’s just a play away from seeing action. Evidently, it’s something Atlanta’s comfortable with, but the team still believes Mariota is the best option when healthy.

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Nonetheless, with Mariota’s status with the Falcons for next season in flux, there’s a chance that Ridder will fight for the starting job next summer - and his progress made behind the scenes certainly only increases the odds that he wins that job.

But for now, it’s Mariota’s team - although Ridder’s time could come at any second, and the Falcons are completely comfortable with that scenario.


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