Desmond Ridder is a polarizing quarterback. Some say that he is awful and others say that he is no more than a career backup. While there could be some truth to these assertions, I maintain that the evidence is incomplete and unless there is a hidden agenda for the vitriol, that his 12 games and how they were (mis) managed skewers the objective truth.
But one quarterback had a worse first campaign than Ridder initially. The fans, like Ridder, had an aversion to him, questioned his being a starter and proclaimed that he too was little more than a backup. The fans, as in the case of Ridder, spoke about acquiring a starter in the offseason and many clamored for Gardner Minshew to start over him. Sound familiar?
And it was for good reason: Recall that the Eagles steamrolled the Falcons 32-6 in 2021, The quarterback passed for 264 yards, rushed for 62, had 3 tds with 0 interceptions and a passer rating of 126.4...None other than one Jalen Hurts. But after that auspicious debut as starter, Hurts was Ridder before Ridder. The Eagles subsequently went 2-6 over the next 8 games, with Hurts committing 6 turnovers including 5 fumbles where he lost one....again, sound familiar? Hurts had passer ratings of 17.5, 55.8, 62.7 and 72.17 during that span....once again you can see the parallel.
So what happened? Nick Sirianni, resisting public outrage and outcry (sound familiar?) nonetheless stuck with Hurts. After the bye the Eagles proceeded to go 6-3, finishing 9-8 and making the playoffs and in 2022 made the Super Bowl.
So again, what happened to cause such a dramatic turnaround? NICK SIRIANNI GAVE UP PLAYCALLING TO SHANE STEICHEN! BINGO! So in effect it wasn't that Hurts was so bad but that the wrong person was calling the plays! The Eagles went from a pass-centric offense to an unpredictable read-option attack that catered to Hurts' abilities and the strength of the personnel.
Is it possible to have a similar result with Ridder? Maybe, maybe not but you will never know with the same stodgy playcalling and concepts trotted out by Arthur Smith. Had Sirianni not parked his ego at the door, he probably would have not have arguably the best team in the NFL. Jalen Hurts would be an All-Pro somewhere else, just because of ego.
Are you listening, Arthur Smith?