There is a new sheriff in town for the Atlanta Falcons!
The team is putting the next four games in the palm of rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder’s hands.
Ridder and veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota were each informed of the quarterback switch last Thursday, per head coach Arthur Smith, but the team didn’t make the move official until Monday, Dec. 12.
And on Wednesday, Ridder was able to share his thoughts on being named the team’s starter.
“It’s excitement,” Ridder told the media. “My dream was being a starting quarterback in the NFL, so I don’t know what everyone’s dream job was, but I’m sure if they got the call to do their dream job, they’d be pretty excited.”
Ridder Has Been Preparing for This Moment
Ridder will make his first NFL-career start on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. From there, the Falcons will take on the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While there is a lot of unknown to come since we haven’t seen Ridder since the preseason, he has been working hard behind the scenes.
“I’m prepared for this,” Ridder said. “This is what they’ve been preparing me for. They didn’t want to baby me.”
When asked what that really meant, Ridder explained.
“It means going about the game plan how a 12-year vet, an eight-year vet, whatever it may be, would,” he said. “Not putting on a wristband, but making me memorize every single play call, all the ins and outs, all the checks, all the cadence, just taking it like I’ve been in the league for eight years (even though) I’ve been in the league for six months.”
Ridder also credited his preparation behind the scenes to the offensive linemen, who have helped him along the way and have built a solid relationship with him, despite him being a backup.
Ridder Remains Confident In Himself
The Falcons originally drafted Ridder out of Cincinnati with the 74th overall pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
As a four-year starter for the Bearcats, Ridder tossed for a total of 10,239 yards with 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in 50 career games. He also produced on the ground, running the ball 501 times for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns for Cincy.
Ahead of the NFL draft, Ridder told reporters that he believed he was the most NFL-ready QB in his class.
“I played five years, so I have the most experience,” Ridder said at the NFL Combine. “I’ve played in many situations over my five years at Cincinnati. I feel like I am the most ready prospect mentally and athletically.”
However, Ridder ended up being the second QB to go off the board behind first-round pick Kenny Pickett, who went to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But despite spending most of the year as a backup not getting his first start until Week 15 against New Orleans, Ridder remains confident in himself as he takes over Martiota’s job.
“I think I am fully prepared, fully ready now,” he said. “I’m ready to go, ready to execute.”