The 2022 NFL regular season is quickly approaching, and the Atlanta Falcons seem to have already made their decision on who to start at the QB position. Marcus Mariota has been the clear-cut starter since he’s arrived in Atlanta. With training camp in the books and the preseason starting this past weekend, Mariota has clearly proven to the coaching staff that he deserves the number one spot, as he went into the first preseason game as the starting QB versus the Detroit Lions. Although Mariota has been deemed the starter, Desmond Ridder might have made his case on why he could potentially be the starting QB with his performance last Saturday against the Lions.
According to reports, both Desmond Ridder and Mariota have had highs and lows in training camp. Some days Ridder looks poised and in control of the offense and other days he shows the inconsistencies that led to his fall in the draft. Though the rookie, at times, has shined early in camp, it will take consistent high level “in game” play in the pre-season to win the job over Mariota, who has familiarity with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith from their days in Tennessee.
In the game against the Lions, Ridder completed 10 passes for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns with one of those being the game winner. He also had a passer rating of 89.8 and rushed 6 times for 59 yards. During the three quarters that he was in the game for, he played with confidence and was very poised throughout the game.
Especially at the end of the game, when he led his team to victory with under 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter by throwing a game winning 21-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jared Bernhardt on 4th & 9. Ridder told reporters after the game, “…I saw it was a one-on-one matchup. Gave my guy… Bernhardt Jared a chance and he obviously came down with it. (It was) a huge play for us”
After a clutch performance like that Ridder definitely turned the heads of the coaching staff and has given Arthur Smith something to think about heading into their second preseason game versus the New York Jets on Monday night. Besides saying his teammates name backwards, Ridder’s performance goes a long way in increasing the team’s confidence in his ability to lead them during the season. Ridder has also gone a long way in solidifying the belief of his supporters that he can succeed on this level similar to his days in Cincinnati.
If Ridder can continue to play at a high level like this during Atlanta’s next two preseason games, there’s no telling what could happen further down the road. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how things play out in these next few weeks.
Article Written by K.J. Cainion and Ric Sincere
Hello! My name is K.J. Cainion. I’m a new intern with MTMV Sports and I’m excited to be covering all Atlanta Sports this fall!