May 26, 2024

Desmond Ridder provides self evaluation on Falcons season

The Falcons’ offensive performance has remained stagnant throughout the 2023 season, consistently ranking as the most unpredictable unit in football. This trend persisted in their 29-25 loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday.

Despite achieving a career-high of 347 passing yards, Desmond Ridder encountered familiar challenges that led to his mid-season benching. Ridder, completing 26-of-40 passes with both a rushing and passing touchdown, also exhibited a tendency to put the ball at risk, throwing an interception and fumbling twice, one of which could have resulted in a Tampa Bay touchdown but only resulted in a two-point loss for Atlanta.

Desmond Ridder - Atlanta Falcons Quarterback - ESPN

Beyond these turnover-prone plays, the 2022 third-round pick continues to struggle with connecting with open receivers. His lapses in vision, coupled with accuracy issues, were evident even when he made the right decisions. For instance, in the opening drive, Ridder missed a wide-open Bijan Robinson in the flat on a crucial third-and-goal, resulting in a four-point swing after the drive stalled—those four points ultimately determining the outcome of the game.

While some may highlight Ridder’s increased yardage as a sign of improvement, he remains one of the league’s most turnover-prone quarterbacks, particularly in critical areas of the field.

Head coach Arthur Smith points to Ridder’s impressive total yards, a significant portion of which come in garbage time during the fourth quarter, as a positive indicator of personal development. Yet, Ridder’s expected points added (EPA) ranks among the bottom three in the first three quarters and improves to third best in the final quarter.

Despite the arguments in favor of Ridder’s fourth-quarter performances, the skepticism remains. The notion that he excels when the pressure is highest is acknowledged, but the inconsistency throughout the entire game suggests a level of unpredictability that is unsustainable for a franchise quarterback. Ridder’s ability to seemingly “flip a switch” in the fourth quarter is viewed as a temporary pattern, and it’s anticipated that his mistakes from earlier quarters will eventually manifest in the final quarter as well. Those steadfastly supporting Desmond Ridder may find their stance increasingly untenable.

Desmond Ridder himself acknowledges a similar assessment when questioned about his performance.

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