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Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder has only seen action in the preseason, but that will change this Sunday.

Ridder is set to be under center in the Falcons game against the Saints, and he said he is up for the challenge. I’m prepared for this,” Ridder said, via the Falcons official website. “This is what they’ve been preparing me for.”

Veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota is not expected to be on the sidelines during the Week 15 game after he was benched and then abruptly stepped away from the team.

Atlanta has dropped four of their last five games with Mariota as the starter.

Desmond Ridder #QB13 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Desmond Ridder #QB13 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
( Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

While Mariota has had some good moments this season, he has largely struggled. His lack of accuracy on deep ball passes has forced the Falcons to rely heavily on the rushing attack.

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The Falcons are the fourth-ranked running team in the NFL with an average of just over 159 rushing yards per game.

Ridder made it clear that the team’s process will have him ready to play.

“They didn’t want to baby me. . . . It means going about the game plan how a 12-year vet, an eight-year vet, whatever it may be, would. Not putting on a wristband — making me memorize every single play call, all the ins and outs, all the checks, all the cadence, just taking it like I’ve been in the league for eight years.”

Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) during Saturday morning workouts for the Atlanta Falcons on July, 30, 2022 at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  

Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) during Saturday morning workouts for the Atlanta Falcons on July, 30, 2022 at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  
(David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Quarterbacks coach Charles London said the offense will not be scaled back in any way because of to Ridder. Head coach Arthur Smith added that the recent strides Ridder has made has helped the team become comfortable with him transitioning into the starting role.

“The growth of Desmond that we’ve seen, he’s been one play away all season,” Smith said. “Feel very comfortable with where he’s at right now, to be able to handle the gameplan and operate at full capacity. We would’ve adapted if he had to play early in the season but feel really good where he’s at right now.”

STEELERS’ MASON RUDOLPH SEEMINGLY DISAGREES WITH MIKE TOMLIN’S CHARACTERIZATION OF QUARTERBACK SITUATION

Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone can relate to Ridder’s situation. Ragone was drafted in 2003 in the third-round in 2003, Atlanta selected Ridder in the third-round of this year’s draft.

Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) in the huddle during Saturday morning workouts for the Atlanta Falcons on July, 30, 2022 at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  

Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) in the huddle during Saturday morning workouts for the Atlanta Falcons on July, 30, 2022 at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  
(David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ragone decided to share his story about how his failures to understand the preparation part of becoming a pro ultimately hurt his chances of being a successful NFL player.

The coach wanted his story to be an example to Ridder of what not to do.

“I was going to press upon any backup quarterback, regardless of age, the importance of preparation, because that failed me,” Ragone told ESPN. “You always learn through either your experiences or your environment, and I felt that I failed in that regard and I obviously learned from my mistakes, where you have the ability to prepare yourself even though you’re not getting those reps.”

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Although there are only four games remaining this season, Sunday’s game will be Ridder’s first opportunity to show the organization if he can be an answer at quarterback.


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