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Falcons Rookie Minicamp: Desmond Ridder Shows QB1 Mentality in Huddle

Desmond Ridder's attention to detail in early practice has set the tone for the quarterback room in Atlanta

As the Atlanta Falcons closed up rookie minicamp, most players are likely content with how the first round of reps in the pros went. New quarterback Desmond Ridder isn't one of those rookie content with practice. 

He also isn't afraid of voicing his opinion to his new teammates from the get-go. 

Desmond Ridder
Desmond Ridder
Desmond Ridder

“He pulled us over and was like, ‘We messed up a lot today,’" receiver Drake London said. “That’s part of being a rookie and Day 1, but he brought us over there and was like, ‘We’ve got to get this s**t together.’ Excuse my language, but that’s just the leader he is.”

Those are the traits that general manager Terry Fontenot saw in the Cincinnati passer during the pre-draft meetings in February and March. Skills and production is one way to win over a locker room. Mechanics and consistency are another. 

Ridder was the definition of consistent during his time as the Bearcats' starter. He posted a 44-6 record and passed for at least 18 touchdowns each season. Since 2019, his completion raiting has improved drastically, going from a 55.1 percent to 66.2. 

All those intangibles should help Ridder fight his way into the conversation of QB1 during the regular season. The Falcons need a new offensive general following the departure of Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. Ridder is making the case to take the reins in that department Week 1 against New Orleans. 

At least he is with among his rookie teammates. 

“He’s just loud," tight end John FitzPatrick said. "I had to tell him to quiet down. It’s like a bull in a china shop. I don’t even know what to say. He said he’ll work on it.”

The bold, brash persona is warranted at the Falcons' complex these days. Atlanta finally admitted it was time for a rebranding when the trade was finalized for Ryan to head the AFC after 14 seasons commanding the offense. 

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But being loud and abrasive only is one part of the job of a franchise quarterback. The other is winning reps during practice and building off the day before. And any passer worth their salt knows winning against one's teammates nearly mirrors the feeling of winning against an opponent on Sundays. 

Ridder was limited in practice during 11-on-11 drills, but his vocal presence was heard among those watching. One report stated that even across the practice complex, Ridder's voice echoed to the sounds of "get set" and "hurry up to the line."

So far, it's been nonstop work for the rookie in the film room. He said he already has had multiple Zoom meetings with quarterback's coach Charles London on the offense and personnel concepts that would help him adjust to Smith's play design Day 1. 

“I’m in the playbook 24/7, so I’ve got it down pretty good,” Ridder said. “When (teammates) come up to me and ask questions and I’m able to fire it back real quick and (for) them to understand I have a good grasp of the offense, that builds trust.” 

Two days of open practice won't be enough for anyone to buy into Ridder's stock just yet as the Falcons' heir to Ryan. It shouldn't. Pads haven't been added to the conversation and helmets were used seldomly. 

Ridder
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The drive and passion of Ridder is something to keep an eye on. He said he wasn't satisfied with Day 1 of practice. Day 2 was better, but things must improve by the time OTAs roll around. 

A four-year starter at Cincinnati, there's little for Ridder to learn about being vocal while commanding the huddle. It was an important detail for the Falcons in terms of bringing him in over others left of the board. 

"It was one the characteristics we liked about him," Smith said Saturday of Ridder. "If he got here and was mute, I’d be a little concerned. I guess he passed Day 1 in that regard.”