Atlanta Falcons owner makes feelings clear with as quarterback decision is made

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Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is optimistic about the team
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is optimistic about the team's starting QB for next season (Image: Getty)

The owner of the Atlanta Falcons has spoken highly of second year quarterback Desmond Ridder who will be the starting quarterback in the NFL next season.

Since the departure of Matt Ryan the franchise has been seeking their long-term starting under centre. An indifferent season from Marcus Mariota opened the door for Ridder at the end of the 2022 season, and he is expected to be the Week 1 start in September.

Team owner Arthur Blank thinks the third round pick from the 2022 Draft has what it takes to lead the franchise.

"I like our young quarterback," Blank said. "People look at just the last four games last year and they say, well, based on those four games, but he really progressed from the time he came on campus here after he was drafted, had a good camp, and he's been a strong leader since he's shown up here.

“Continued to develop. Worked well with (Marcus) Mariota last year, and learned a lot from Marcus. He's a learner, and he's got a lot of humility." Last season marked Ridder’s rookie campaign and he made four starts.

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He completed 73 of 115 passes for 708 yards and a passer rating of 86.4. The Falcons won two of those four games as they finished the campaign with a 7-10 record.

With last season’s starting Mariota joining the Philadelphia Eagles, Ridder is now at the top of the QB chart with Taylor Heineke his primary competition. Blank is full of optimism ahead of next season.

"As the year progressed, he had an opportunity to play, and I think he played at a very competitive level,” he said. “Those last four games each game seemed to be a little bit better.

“So, we feel pretty strongly that he's going to be our quarterback of the future. We've got to play games and we've got to see, but we feel good about him." The Falcons finished bottom of the NFL South last year and have not made the playoffs since 2017 - one year after their run to the Super Bowl.

Atlanta Falcons owner makes feelings clear with as quarterback decision is madeDesmond Ridder will be the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in the coming season (Getty Images)

They suffered a devastating loss to the New England Patriots at the NRG Stadium six years ago, and after the arrival of coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot a three-year plan was laid out. The franchise is heading into the third year of that plan, and it's time to produce.

"I think they got us in a position now where our team is gonna be more competitive than it's been the last couple of years," Blank added. "I think they'd be disappointed if that wasn't the case, I'd be disappointed, our fans would be disappointed. So I feel good about the direction of where we are.

“You have to play, you've got to avoid injuries and all that kind of stuff. But we're in a division that is going to be competitive. Everybody says, well it's one of the weakest divisions. I expect us to certainly win more games than we've won the last couple years, and where that puts us and what number that'll be, I'm not sure."

The Falcons will commence the new campaign against the Carolina Panthers on September 10.

Liam Llewellyn

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