May 19, 2024

Falcons Coach Yates: Ridder Can Develop, but QB Performance Must Improve

The Atlanta Falcons’ revamped coaching staff isn’t ruling out quarterback Desmond Ridder just yet. Falcons offensive coordinator Zac Robinson stated on Wednesday that they’re considering all possibilities for the 2024 season, including evaluating Ridder alongside fellow quarterback Taylor Heinicke, whose contract is also under control. The following day, T.J. Yates, the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach who worked with the team’s receivers last season, echoed similar sentiments. Yates believes he can assist Ridder in improving his performance. “Absolutely,” Yates affirmed. “He’s still a young quarterback. Nowadays, with the pressure to perform immediately, it’s challenging to nurture players. However, everyone knows it’s a results-driven industry, and immediate performance is required.”

Desmond Ridder is still a work-in-progress - The Falcoholic

Ridder, aged 24, had a tumultuous season with 13 starts last year, completing 64.2% of his passes for 2,836 yards, with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He started the first eight games but entered concussion protocol during Week 8. Heinicke impressed in relief and started the subsequent two weeks, but Ridder reclaimed the starting position in Week 10 after Heinicke’s injury. Despite a promising start, Ridder was eventually benched again, leading to a rollercoaster season for both quarterbacks.

Yates remains optimistic about Ridder’s future as he gains experience. “He’ll continue to develop throughout his career, learning the game, improving ball protection, and other aspects,” Yates remarked. “There’s always room for improvement for every player.”

However, change is anticipated. Team owner Arthur Blank emphasized on February 9 that improving the quarterback position was a priority. Head coach Raheem Morris remained ambiguous about the future of the position during his introduction on February 5, while Robinson expressed excitement about evaluating Ridder further.

Nonetheless, the Falcons are expected to explore all options this offseason to secure a new franchise quarterback. “We’ll explore every possibility,” Yates asserted. “The quarterback position must improve for this team, and we’ll do everything possible to enhance it.”

With the No. 8 overall pick in April’s draft and significant cap space, the Falcons have the resources to upgrade at quarterback. However, for now, Ridder and Heinicke remain at the top of the depth chart. Changes are anticipated as the offseason progresses, but for the time being, Ridder and Heinicke are part of the Falcons’ plans.

 

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