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'I do think Des' future is bright': What Arthur Smith had to say about Desmond Ridder's 2023 trajectory

Ridder started the final four games of the 2022 season for the Falcons. Was that enough of a sample size to be named the starter in 2023? 

One of the most burning questions surrounding the Falcons during the 2023 offseason hinges upon what they decide to do at the quarterback position. Now in the post-Matt Ryan era, what are the Falcons wanting to do - long-term - at the quarterback position? Desmond Ridder started the final four games of the 2022 season. Did he do enough to be named the starting quarterback in 2023? Or will the Falcons find their QB1 elsewhere? They have options: The Draft, free agency, even a trade if they have someone in their sights. Ultimately, though, the decision about the future of the quarterback position in Atlanta is still up in the air.

In an exclusive sit-down with ahead of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, head coach Arthur Smith was asked about the quarterback position, particularly Ridder. He said based on the sample size of the four games worth of tape he has on Ridder, he's pleased with the young quarterback's progress.

"I think the other thing that I thought he did well is that he didn't repeat a lot of the same mistakes," Smith said. "There are a lot of things that go on playing late in the season like that, going on the road. I thought he did a nice job handling those critical downs."


Smith said he's seen obvious improvements in Ridder's game, even since the moment he was drafted to Atlanta last year. Getting him on the field for the final portion of the 2022 season allowed Ridder to get back into game-mode. Because of that, Smith said he really saw Ridder handle himself well in the situational football moments, so think third down, fourth downs and inside the two-minute warning.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and quarterback Desmond Ridder #4 during practice in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Asked about Ridder's trajectory with the Falcons, Smith said this: "I do think Des' future is bright."

Is it bright enough to be named the 2023 starting quarterback for the Falcons, though? Well, Smith didn't want to make that call in February.

"We're not naming any starters right now," he said. "There are a lot of things that can happen. We're very excited about Des, no different than we are about Tyler Allgeier and Drake London and the improvements they've made and guys who are currently on our roster. As always, all options are on the table. Anything that we can do to improve this team and help us win - and to ultimately win championships - that's what we're looking for."

So, there you have it. No starting quarterback has been named in Atlanta, yet. But Smith did have solid praise for Ridder, someone who is vying for that top spot even at this point in the offseason.

Join us as we take a look back at our favorite photos of our rookies from the 2022 Atlanta Falcons season.

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