The Atlanta Falcons recently announced they won’t be pursuing a potential Lamar Jackson trade this offseason, even after he recently told the Baltimore Ravens he wants out. A big reason for the organization deciding to pass on one of the best dual-threat signal-callers in the NFL is their current QB1, Desmond Ridder.

On Friday, head coach Arthur Smith explained why the Falcons believe Ridder has the potential to be a very solid option for this franchise moving forward. Via

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“He won a lot of games in college and helped Luke Fickell at Cincinnati really change the whole culture of that program,” Smith said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show. “And I certainly think that experience, you start that many games coming in helps, we certainly saw that early on as we threw everything we could at him. And he was impressive, and we felt that he was ready to take over at that time of the season, and I thought he did a nice job. Cool, collected under pressure.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to operate on critical third downs, fourth downs, two-minute situations, and I thought he’d done that pretty well. And certainly there’s a lot of things we all can continue to improve, but we’ve got a lot of faith in him.”

Ridder played just four games last season after taking over for Marcus Mariota, completing 63.8% of his passes for two touchdowns and no picks. Not eye-popping numbers, but the Falcons like what they saw from the rookie.

Now, it simply comes down to surrounding him with enough offensive weapons to succeed as he heads into 2023 as the clear-cut starter. Bringing in Scotty Miller is a start, while Drake London is only going to get better after a huge Year 1.