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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Falcons coach has significant praise for rookie QB

Desmond Ridder throws a pass

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) throws a pass in the first half of the NCAA football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.
Cincinnati Bearcats At East Carolina Pirates 20

Though Marcus Mariota is set to start for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, his rookie backup appears to be making an impression on the team’s coaching staff.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had notable praise for rookie Desmond Ridder after three days of minicamp. Smith was particularly impressed with Ridder’s intelligence and ability to quickly learn playbook and scheme.

“He’s light years ahead of most other young quarterbacks from the neck up,” Smith said, via Charles Odum of the Associated Press. “I will give him that compliment.”

Smith made clear that Ridder still has plenty of work to do, noting that Ridder needs to catch up physically to where he is mentally. The coach expects that to come with more reps, though.

Ridder probably counts as one to watch at some point in 2022. The likelihood of seeing the third-round pick early in the campaign is low, but if Mariota and the Falcons don’t do much to impress, it is entirely plausible the team will want a look at the rookie down the stretch. The chances of that scenario happening increase as long as Ridder keeps impressing his coaches behind the scenes.

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