FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — A day after Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he believed in quarterback Desmond Ridder as the future of the position with his franchise, Ridder said hearing his team’s owner say that was “comforting.”

Ridder, a third-round pick in 2022 out of Cincinnati, is entering his first full season as the starting quarterback after replacing Marcus Mariota for the final four games of last season.

“That’s comforting for me obviously knowing that Mr. Blank and everyone in the organization believes in me and my skill set,” Ridder said. “At the end of the day, for myself, it’s about putting a higher expectation than even what they have for myself and going out and trying to exceed that and be better.”

Ridder completed 73 of 115 passes for 708 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions last season. This season, Atlanta signed Taylor Heinicke to be Ridder’s backup during free agency in March, solidifying Ridder would be the team’s starter.

“We feel pretty strongly that he’s going to be our quarterback in the future,” Blank said Tuesday. “And we gotta play games and we gotta see. But we feel good about him.”

On Wednesday morning, Falcons general manager said they remain “very excited about Desmond,” while citing how he played when he became the starter in an offense not necessarily tailored toward him. Falcons coach Arthur Smith has said on multiple occasions how Ridder handled himself in critical situations in his four starts is something that stood out to him.

“We saw him in critical moments, third down, fourth down, end of game end to half. And he was able to produce in those moments,” Fontenot said. “And also, Desmond, we saw him get knocked down. We saw him handle some adversity and we saw him respond to it. So, we believe in the makeup and the maturity, and then now we get into the offseason and it’s about improvement as opposed to the immediate result.

“It’s about the process of improvement and we’re process-oriented organization. So, he’s had a really good offseason and he’s working hard to improve in all areas.”

Ridder said hearing Blank and Fontenot say that about him “hits a little more closer to home” than if people who were not decision-makers in the organization had talked about him.

Ridder took his leadership role seriously in the offseason, including organizing off-site throwing sessions with the team’s pass-catchers in the Atlanta area throughout the spring and summer. It’s something he was hoping paid off during training camp as the Falcons get ready for their season-opener on Sept. 10 against Carolina.

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