According to Pro Football Focus (PFF) and frankly most of the national media, the Atlanta Falcons free agent spree and excellent draft are meaningless because… Desmond Ridder.
The Falcons had one of the worst rosters in the NFL last season, no one is going to argue that. But they still won seven games including a 2-2 record when Ridder started the final four games of the season. His 94.4 rating in his final-three games was without the benefit of Kyle Pitts.
Atlanta has added a load of talent to this roster including veterans on defense like Jessie Bates at safety, defensive tackle David Onyemata, linebacker Kaden Elliss, former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah and more.
None of that matters to PFF who ranked the Falcons the 26th best (or worst) roster in the NFL largely because of… Desmond Ridder.
The Falcons’ defense was poor last season, but they at least poured resources into it this offseason. It’s tough to believe much in Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, though. Whoever starts likely won’t be expected to throw more than 25 times per game. They need to be efficient in the play-action game and limit turnovers to allow the run game to shine.Dalton Wasserman and Jim Wyman, PFF
To be fair, Wasserman and Wyman lumped Heinicke in with Ridder, but we all know who they’re talking about. Of course they say in the same article that Pitts’s production fell off a cliff after losing Matt Ryan and the coaching change.
What coaching change you ask?
The Falcons Over/Under on win total heading into the season stands a reasonable 8.5. To that Wasserman and Wyman say… Desmond Ridder.
It’s hard to give the Falcons a winning record with Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke as their quarterbacks. Even so, the NFC South may see an under-.500 division winner again. Bijan Robinson fits in perfectly behind Atlanta’s offensive line, and Arthur Smith is an excellent play caller. With that in mind, the Falcons feel like a seven-win team that could come out on top in a couple more games if their quarterbacks overachieve.Dalton Wasserman and Jim Wyman, PFF
The Falcons were a seven-win team the last two seasons. Does this Falcons team seem better or worse on paper heading into the season?
The wheels may fall off and the Falcons win three games, but if PFF wants to set the over/under at seven, I’d be taking the over.