Desmond Ridder arrived in Atlanta a year ago as a third-round pick, uncertain about anything.
He didn’t know where to go or what to do; he didn’t know the offense; he didn’t know all of his teammates; and he certainly didn’t know his future.
Ridder enters this season as the Falcons’ starting quarterback.
“This time last year, my head was spinning,” Ridder said Wednesday, via Scott Bair of the team website. “Obviously having a year under my belt and a whole offseason, things have become a lot more comfortable. Now we’re trying to work the intricate details of it, the ins and outs, and knowing the exact reasons why everything is going on.”
Ridder roomed with Tyler Allgeier and Drake London during rookie minicamp last season, and they spent time at night using poker chips to learn the plays. Ridder now knows exactly what he’s doing and where he’s going.
He has become the team leader.
“He already had the confidence last year,” Allgeier said. “Now he has a year under him after learning from Marcus [Mariota]. He’s just a natural-born leader. Him coming in last year, being with him the apartments last year [during rookie minicamp] and then seeing him now, that’s a big step. He always had the confidence. We’re all confident playing behind him.”
Ridder made four starts last season, with two touchdowns and no interceptions and the Falcons went 2-2.