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Hey, Guess Who Sucks? It’s Desmond Ridder!

Atlanta Falcons' Desmond Ridder during the NFL International match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday October 1, 2023. (Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)
Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

Prior to this season, the Atlanta Falcons had a chance to snatch Lamar Jackson away from Baltimore to complete an offense that was growing loaded with playmaking talent. They had stud wideout Drake London. They had supposedly lethal tight end Kyle Pitts (“They just gotta get Pitts going!”). They had the third-best rushing offense returning from the season prior. All they needed was a decent quarterback to round out what was otherwise a contending roster. Lamar, or one of the three big names at the top of April’s draft, would have done the job.

Instead, the Falcons decided to give second-year man Desmond Ridder a season-long tryout. This morning, NFL fans in London suffered greatly as a result:

That was one of three turnovers that Ridder committed in a desultory 24-7 loss to Jacksonville at Wembley. Color guy Dan Orlovsky—who’s quickly becoming very, very good in the booth—noted that Ridder threw that ball to Drake London despite WR Mack Hollins coming free off a light pick that London had set up for him. Ridder then followed up that pick with another pick on his very next throw, failing to look off safety Andre Cisco and paying dearly for it. Those two picks capped off a stretch, spanning this loss and last week’s loss to Detroit, in which Ridder led the Falcons' offense to zero points over six quarters.

Ridder would get a chance to make up for all of this nastiness when he spotted a wide open Hollins down the field at the end of the half only to leave the ball a mile short, nearly getting picked off a third time with a throw that made both Orlovsky’s boothmate Louis Riddick AND Hollins himself openly disgusted.

If I’m being nice—and lord knows that both Riddick and Orlovsky tried their best to be nice to the lad for the rest of this toilet party—I’d tell you that Desmond Ridder converted the majority of his third-down attempts against the Jags, that his pass protection was iffy, and that he even tossed a nice back-shoulder throw to London in the second half for Atlanta’s only touchdown of the game.

But I see no reason to be nice. Not after Ridder airmailed a pass to London in the end zone on the Falcons’ last shot at staying in the game. Not after Falcons owner Arthur Blank used every cheap excuse in his arsenal for not making Lamar an offer. Not when QB Taylor Heinicke, as proven a backup as you’re gonna find, is holding the clipboard for a team that has aspirations for an NFC South title. Not when ESPN’s chief pocket protector Bill Barnwell noted just this week that Ridder had a worse yards-per-dropback average than Justin Fields and Zach Wilson. And not when I—and all of swinging England—would like to have watched a decent football game. The Falcons had every opportunity over the past 10 months to get themselves a proper quarterback, and they opted to stick with this guy instead. Maybe they should … get Ridder him.

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