Grady Jarrett opens up about Desmond Ridder decision
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons' Grady Jarrett opens up about Desmond Ridder decision

Veteran defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sounds in favor of his Atlanta Falcons naming Desmond Ridder as their starting quarterback for the upcoming season. 

"[I]t just seems like the noise around him just hasn’t affected him — just the negative energy that people are giving toward the decision that the team has made to go with him," Jarrett said about Ridder during a recent SiriusXM NFL Radio appearance, per Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk. 

Ridder entered the NFL as a 2022 third-round draft pick and then spent the majority of his rookie season sitting behind Marcus Mariota. In four games and starts, the 23-year-old posted a 2-2 record and completed 73-of-115 passes (63.5%) for 708 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ridder also rushed for 64 yards on 16 attempts. 

Starting back in January, the Falcons were heavily linked in stories and rumors with Baltimore Ravens star signal-caller Lamar Jackson even before Baltimore retained Jackson's rights via the non-exclusive franchise tag. The situation changed in March, however, when Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith confirmed at the league meetings he planned to start Ridder when the Falcons open the 2023 regular season against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 10. 

Jackson later signed a five-year contract with the Ravens reportedly worth up to $260M with $185M in guaranteed money. 

"He’s just so confident in the things that he’s going to be able to do," Jarrett added about Ridder. "And we’re confident in him, the things we know he can achieve because he’s shown the work day in and day out. That’s how you want your quarterback, your leader to be — unscathed, a guy that’s just locked in. So, I mean, confidence is a great word because he’s going to have the swagger, the talent, and everything to match. So I’d definitely say he’s confident." 

Such comments from teammates this summer ultimately may mean little if Ridder stumbles during his second pro season. The Falcons theoretically could target a possible replacement such as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance as soon as March 2024 depending on all that occurs between now and the winter months. 

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