Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Falcons QB Ridder early to rise — and lead — at rookie camp

  • 0

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Desmond Ridder's drive to be first begins with an early start at his Atlanta Falcons rookie minicamp apartment.

The quarterback's roommates — wide receiver Drake London, running back Tyler Allgeier and tight end John FitzPatrick — can't help but notice.

“I told Desmond, ‘Don’t be so loud in the morning,'" FitzPatrick said after Saturday's session. “He just wakes up early. I don't know. He's just loud. It's like a bull in a china shop.”

Ridder, the Falcons' third-round pick from Cincinnati and the second quarterback selected in last month's NFL draft, says he knows no other way.

“I try to be the first one in the building,” Ridder said.

Ridder had to settle for runner-up honors on Saturday. He said offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel, an undrafted rookie from Boston College and the son of Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel, was the first in the practice facility.

Ridder's 6 a.m. wake-up call may have caused some grumbles, but his new Atlanta teammates have praised his leadership skills. Ridder says he strives to be a player his teammates can lean on when there are questions about learning the Falcons playbook.

Ridder wants to take full advantage of his preparation time before practice. He says the rookies were given the playbook about 10 days ago, and he believed it was important for him to learn the plays for the two-day minicamp.

“These guys see that I’m in the playbook 24-7,” Ridder said. “I’ve got it down pretty good so when they’re coming up to me and asking me questions and just being able to fire it off back at them real quick and them understand that I have a good grasp and knowledge of the offense, that builds trust within the offense and within our relationships with each other.”

Another example of Ridder's leadership came in a sideline speech on Friday.

London, the first-round pick, said Ridder called the other rookies together to say mistakes in drills must be corrected. London said Ridder's message was, “'We messed up a lot today.”

Added London: "We got it together and that’s just the leader he is, so I’m following his footsteps.”

Falcons coach Arthur Smith was hesitant to make too much of what he has seen in a two-day rookie camp. Even so, Smith acknowledged on Saturday, “That’s a good start."

“It’s one of the characteristics we liked about him," Smith said. "If we got him out here and was mute, I’d be a little concerned. I guess he passed the Day 1 as advertised in that regard.”

Ridder (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) led Cincinnati to last season’s College Football Playoff. He threw 30 touchdown passes as a senior and set a school career record with 87 scoring passes.

Smith has said Marcus Mariota, the former Titans starter acquired from the Las Vegas Raiders following Matt Ryan's trade to Indianapolis, will open training camp atop Atlanta's depth chart. Ridder will compete with Mariota and have an opportunity to prove he can be the future starter.

Ridder was only the second quarterback drafted. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. Still, Ridder was only the No. 74 overall pick.

That's lower than Ridder expected and even though he says he understands that quarterbacks dropped in the draft, it's motivation as he launches his career.

“Yes I am going to take it and use it as a chip but it’s not something that I think about every single day,” he said.

NOTES: Smith said WR Bryan Edwards (6-3, 215), acquired from the Raiders on Friday, “fits inside our receiver room” as another player with good size. “He’s a guy who can win outside one on one and a guy who can certainly know how to play in traffic inside the numbers,” Smith said. The Falcons sent a fifth-round pick in 2023 to Las Vegas and also acquired a seventh-rounder next year from the Raiders.

More AP NFL: and and

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

The Atlanta Falcons have signed inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to a one-year contract. Kwiatkoski has played in 77 career games with 34 starts in six seasons with the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders. He appeared in eight games for the Raiders in 2021, totaling 21 tackles with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. The Falcons also added wide receiver Geronimo Allison to the roster. He had 89 receptions for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns in 49 games, including 14 starts, over five seasons with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. 

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones doesn't show his emotions much. So it's understandable he didn't say much about the team's recent decision not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The 24-year-old who was the sixth player taken in the 2019 draft said it was just a business decision. He understands it, and he is preparing for his first season under new coach Brian Daboll. Jones has posted a 12-25 record since becoming the Giants starter.

The Los Angeles Chargers have signed defensive lineman Morgan Fox. Fox will be entering his seventh year in the league. He spent his first five seasons with the Rams before going to the Carolina Panthers last year. Fox’s most productive season was in 2020, when Chargers coach Brandon Staley was the Rams' defensive coordinator. Fox had a career-high six sacks and nine quarterback hits. He has 103 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and four recoveries during his career.

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with third-round pick Nicholas Petit-Frere. Petit-Frere, an offensive tackle, played 35 games, including 20 starts for Ohio State. The Titans have agreed to terms with six of their nine picks from the draft.

Tom Brady will be on the hot seat – this time during a Netflix roast. Netflix announced the seven-time Super Bowl champion will be featured first in a series of upcoming specials called “Greatest Roasts of All Time: GROAT.” Brady is the executive producer of the series, with his roast set to tape in 2023. After 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win after the 2020 season. He announced his retirement in January, but in March reversed course, saying he’ll return as Tampa Bay's quarterback for another season. 

A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will meet with NFL officials in Texas. Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits from massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct, plans to meet with the league representatives this week, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to report the meeting on Twitter. A league spokesman declined to comment on the tweet and said "there’s no timetable as the review is active and ongoing.” Watson faces discipline from the league, which is independently investigating whether he violated the personal-conduct policy. 

Former Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen, now a free agent, apparently suffered an injury during a training session being live-streamed on his Instagram account. The hard-luck player, released in March by the Bears due to past injuries, grabbed the back of his leg after going down during the workout. The incident was seen on Instagram Live, with Cohen falling to the floor after back-peddling. Cohen played three full seasons with Chicago but made it to only three games in 2021 before tearing knee ligaments. He missed the rest of that season and then was released by the Bears.

The Indianapolis Colts have signed four players they selected in this year's draft and have added 22 undrafted rookies to their roster. Indy signed the last four of its eight draft picks: defensive tackle Eric Johnson II, tight end Drew Ogletree, defensive tackle Curtis Brooks and defensive back Rodney Thomas II. Former Notre Dame and Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan was the best known of the undrafted rookies. Indy is holding its rookie minicamp this weekend.

Recommended for you

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alerts