This conversation is something that has been weighing on my mind lately. With all of the talks about Jackson and the future of the QB position in Atlanta this year, one thing seems to have been settled. It is that Desmond Ridder will be the QB1 come the first week of the regular season. Now, no matter where you fall on that decision, there is a big part of the conversation that needs to be had by both the organization itself, and the fans. It is a conversation born out of a single question. What does success look like for Desmond Ridder?
Now, there does need to be a precursor for the conversation. There needs to be some level of bias removal. Whether you love him as QB1 or hate him, you do need to take the feelings out of it to get to the truth. It also helps to set a baseline for him based on reality. If you think he is going to be an All-pro this year, then you might be tempted to say he will have 40 TD's and 4500 yds, but that would be very optimistic. Its unreasonable to expect that from him. Now, if you love him and don't want to consider moving on, then you might say he only needs to help win. The problem there is that wins are a team stat. How do we know what was Ridder and wasn't Ridder, other than our own subjective view on the assessment? So being unbiased in setting the baseline expectations is key.
On top of that, we would need to consider what the metrics will be, considering what our expectations are. Is Arthur Smith going to have Ridder throw a lot more than Mariota did last season? Is it going to be heavy ground and pound with the addition of Bijan? In other words, what is realistic considering the environment in which he is playing? Plus, do we think that he has sat a year and should be able to produce league average, or are we expecting lower than league average considering this is his first full season starting? His experience level could heavily affect his realistic outcome in his first season, and we could reasonably expect growth in season two of a full-time starting role.
With all factors considered this is what I see as a realistic baseline of expectations for Desmond Ridder in 2023. If I'm wrong I'm more than willing to change the answer, and as a group, we can have a document that can serve as the expectations this fanbase has to rightfully use the term successful when describing the 2023 season for Desmond Ridder.
1. Completion percentage equal to or higher than league average (57.2%)
2. 1.5:1 ratio for TD's to INT's
3. No less than 15 passing TD's, or 18 total TD's
4. 3000 passing yards (avg of ~177 yds per game) or better
1. Help the team win 9+ games
2. Can not be considered generally responsible for more than 2 losses
3. Shows a continued growth between game 1 and game 17 of the season
4. Shows a firm grasp and command of the offense and playbook all season
1. Must meet 3 out of the 4 metrics for both categories of metrics.
2. Anything that could be considered "catastrophic" when considering volume of injuries can cause this evaluation to be pushed out for another full year, but a "normal" amount of injuries is not grounds to postpone the evaluation.
Now, if he passes the evaluation I think that is grounds to put off considering an upgrade at the QB position until we see some sort of decline from Ridder. If he fails this evaluation we go into the offseason of 2024 and start putting together plans to move up for a QB in the draft, or considering signing one in free agency depending on what is available.