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A new era of football is officially underway in Atlanta based on information made by head coach Arthur Smith this Monday afternoon. 

Following the Falcons’ Week 14 bye, Smith said to the media today and declared the move that many fans have patiently been staying to hear: Desmond Ridder will be Atlanta’s starting quarterback moving forward. While Smith called Monday’s determination to promote Ridder “performance-based,” he even stated that Marcus Mariota (knee) is likely lead to injured reserve.

“#Falcons coach Arthur Smith makes it official: Desmond Ridder will start moving forward, a decision he calls “performance-based.” He adds that Marcus Mariota is getting his knee checked out and is likely headed to Injured Reserve. That explains the Logan Woodside signing,” Rapoport tweeted Monday. 

The Atlanta Falcons, 5-8, seat in the second position in the struggling NFC South. They’re currently one game after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the section lead. 

Enter Desmond Ridder. 

Atlanta’s third-round option in the 2022 NFL starting quarterback, Ridder played 4 seasons in college at the University of Cincinnati. 

He enhanced as a passer in each of his four collegiate campaigns, ending his Bearcat career with an outstanding senior year in which he finished nearly 65% of his passes while throwing 30 touchdowns compared to just 8 interceptions.

Despite standing as the second quarterback selected in last year’s draft – Pitt’s Kenny Pickett went 20th general to the Steelers – several analysts deemed Ridder to be the most pro-ready signal caller in the 2022 class. 

“He’s one of the more pro-ready quarterbacks I have seen,” The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen said of Ridder before this season. “There was a future more talented quarterback who went last year, but just his pro-readiness, his crime, and the things he was asked to do (in college), I think he’s pro-ready.”

Desmond Ridder will make his long-awaited NFL regular season debut this Sunday when the Falcons cross(travel) to take on the New Orleans Saints. 

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