NFC Notes: Desmond Ridder, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Falcons HC Arthur Smith said third-round QB Desmond Ridder is way ahead of where other rookies are from an intellectual standpoint.

He’s light years ahead of most other young quarterbacks from the neck up,” Smith said, via AP News. “I will give him that compliment.

He’s very intelligent,” Smith added. “Clearly he’s got to continue to improve…but behind the scenes there are things he has done that have impressed me as a rookie.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota added Ridder has done all the right things in an attempt to get up to speed mentally.

You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He’s doing a great job of just being in the book, trying to learn. He understands you’re going to come out here and you’re going to make mistakes. That’s part of it. But it’s just learning from the experience and I think he’s done a great job all camp.

Ridder is even surprising himself with how quickly he’s picking up the team’s playbook.

Honestly, I’m not going to lie, I thought I was going to come in and struggle a little bit,” Ridder said. “We’re almost all the way through all our installs and putting in all those checks. I’ve got a good grasp of it. That kind of surprised me, honestly, you know? I’m not going to say I wouldn’t have picked it up, but I thought it would take me just a little bit longer, an extra couple of days. But I’ve been able to pick up on it pretty smoothly.


  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule believes the “arrow’s pointing up” on third-round QB Matt Corral but admits that he’ll require time to develop: “The arrow’s pointing up for him, but it’s going to take some time.” (Joseph Person)
  • Corral thinks he’ll be ready for the starting job whenever OC Ben McAdoo judges him to be: “Whenever coach [OC Ben McAdoo] says I’m ready, I’m ready.” (David Newton)
  • As for the time between minicamp and training camp, Corral will be using the next five weeks to train: “[I’m] not taking a day off mentally.” (Newton)
  • Rhule said that QB Sam Darnold would be their starting quarterback if the season started today: “If we played today, Sam would be our quarterback.” (Person)
  • Rhule added that they would make a “significant” upgrade at quarterback if it was available to them, but also believes their players can improve. 
  • Rhule said DT Daviyon Nixon may not be fully recovered from his knee injury in time for training camp. (Person)
  • Rhule said he’s unsure who will be their No. 1 left tackle ahead of training camp, but considers OL Brady Christensen one of the “best players on the team” at any position. (Person)
  • Person adds that Christensen could line up at left tackle or left guard. Given the team spent the No. 6 pick on OT Ikem Ekwonu, the thought had been he would be the favorite for left tackle. 


Saints QB Jameis Winston said recently signed WR Jarvis Landry provides a veteran savviness at the position and he has a strong ability to get open. 

“I think that’s one thing about having a veteran guy with great savvy — he’s just a baller who knows how to get open,” Winston said, via the Saints’ Youtube. “I really admire that so much about him because it’s a part of that where — that’s the receiver’s job. Hey, get open. No matter how detailed the route is or the specific coverage, when you find a way to get open, you get the ball.”

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