Atlanta Falcons Desmond Ridder Highlights vs. Jets
Atlanta Falcons News

BR Names Biggest Obstacle Falcons ‘Must Figure Out’

It’s no secret that quarterback Desmond Ridder is the biggest question mark on the entire Atlanta Falcons roster.

But Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon had a slightly different take. He wrote the real issue the Falcons will deal with behind center is how long to keep Ridder as the team’s starter.

“If the sophomore middle-round pick is struggling, eventually you have to pull the trigger and give the other guy a shot,” Gagnon wrote. “That’s the key to the early part of the 2023 campaign for Atlanta.”

While Gagnon wrote “if” in his analysis, he labeled “how long to give Ridder” as the biggest thing the Falcons “must figure out.”

That seems to imply that Gagnon is predicting Ridder will struggle to the point where he should lose his job.

It wouldn’t be surprising if he does struggle. Ridder is a third-round talent who barely played in the preseason. He received a taste of the NFL last season but only played in four games.

However, Ridder did improve over those four contests. In the first two games, Ridder completed 59.3% of his passes while averaging 5.3 yards per pass. In his second two starts, he posted a 67.9% completion percentage and 7.7 yards per attempt.

Ridder had 2 touchdowns in his second two games versus zero in the first two. He also led the Falcons to two victories after losing his first two starts.

Of course the Falcons would prefer Ridder to get off to a fast start. The fan base is itching for the team to make its first playoff appearance since 2017.

But if Ridder starts slowly yet shows improvement as the season goes, he shouldn’t be benched for a career journeyman. Taylor Heinicke could lead the Falcons to a division title in a weak NFC South. But he’s not taking the team anywhere else.

The true key obstacle for the Falcons this season is figuring out whether Ridder should be considered the team’s franchise quarterback going forward. That will take more than a handful of starts to figure out.