NFL: Quarterback Desmond Ridder to get next start at Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons plan to offer the next start to quarterback Desmond Ridder instead of Marcus Mariota against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 18, the team announced Thursday.

Ridder, 23, was twice named American Athletic Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the Year while playing for the University of Cincinnati in the NCAA. He was selected 74th overall by the Falcons in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was then the second quarterback selected.

The Falcons have lost back-to-back games and are enjoying a bye week, giving Ridder more time to prepare. With a record of 5-8, the Falcons still have a chance to make the playoffs as they are only a game and a half behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaders of the NFC South.

Mariota, 29, was drafted second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. He is on his third NFL team after spending two years as a reserve in Las Vegas with the Raiders.

He completed 61.3% of his passes this season, amassing 2,219 passing yards and 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He also had 438 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a largely untalented offense, with star tight end Kyle Pitts already on the disabled list.

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