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Falcons rookie QB Desmond Ridder to start in Week 15

Aug 27, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Desmond Ridder is the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons when the team returns from their bye week, NFL Network reported on Thursday.

Per the report, Ridder will usurp Marcus Mariota and be under center for the Falcons at New Orleans in Week 15. The 23-year-old Ridder has yet to play a snap in the regular season. He was selected by the Falcons in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Cincinnati.

A dual-threat quarterback, Ridder tossed a school-record 87 touchdown passes during his four seasons with the Bearcats. His 44 wins at Cincinnati are the third-most in college football history.

He guided the Bearcats to a 13-1 record in 2021, passing for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Ridder was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021.

The Falcons (5-8) lost four of their last five games to fall behind the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6).

Atlanta coach Arthur Smith told reporters that “every job is open” on Monday, one day after the Falcons dropped a 19-16 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mariota, 29, has completed just 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,219 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions while making all 13 starts this season. His 15 TDs rank 16th in the NFL. He is tied for fifth (most) in the NFL with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins with nine interceptions.

Mariota garnered criticism for missing open receivers in the loss to the Steelers. His interception on the Falcons’ final drive sealed the victory for Pittsburgh.

The Falcons have struggled mightily in the passing game this season. Per STATS, the Falcons rank 27th in the NFL in “big pass plays” (25-plus-yard pass plays) and 31st in pass attempts this season.

–Field Level Media

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