What to expect from Desmond Ridder in his first start as Falcons QB

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The Atlanta Falcons appear set to make a QB change and start Desmond Ridder in Week 15 when the Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.

While optimism may be high for the 3rd round rookie QB, the 2nd QB taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, and despite it being after a bye week late in the season, John and Hugh plead with fans to keep expectations in check.

So what are realistic expectations for Desmond Ridder? It's a combination of how other rookies have performed this season and what the Falcons offense has looked like with Marcus Mariota.

So far this season there have been four QB's taken in the 2022 NFL Draft to start a game, with San Francisco's Brock Purdy seemingly set to become the 5th this Sunday.

Kenny Pickett of the Steelers and Bailey Zappe of the Patriots both had their first starts in Week 5, followed by Dolphins QB Skylar Thompson in Week 6 and Titans QB Malik Willis in Week 7.

What were those quarterbacks asked to do and how did they perform in their first start?
• Kenny Pickett was 34 for 52 in a 38-3 loss to the Bills. He threw for 327 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception.
• Bailey Zappe was 17 for 21 in a 29-0 win over the Lions. He threw for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
• Skylar Thompson was 7 for 13 in a 24-16 loss to the Vikings. He threw for 89 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.
• Malik Willis was 6 for 10 in a 17-10 win over the Texans. He threw for 55 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception.

The average of those starts resulted in 24 pass attempts and 164 yards. Statistically those numbers do seem possible for Ridder, but realistically the numbers aren't even that high, it's just 15 passes and 111 yards if you remove the astronomically high output from Pickett in a blowout loss.

When you combine the realistic rookie output listed above with the average Marcus Mariota start of 23 passing attempts and 171 yards, Ridder may not be asked to light it up, but manage the game, minimize mistakes, and maybe provide a small boost to the passing offense.

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