Desmond Ridder: Marcus Mariota is ‘like a big brother to me’


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One topic of the NFL offseason that quickly became a nonstory involved Tennessee Titans veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill saying he was “competing against” rookie signal-caller Malik Willis and that it wasn’t his “job to mentor” the first-year pro. Both Willis and Tannehill did well to silence chatter about possible issues between the two, and all involved have seemingly since moved on.

The Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, pressed a figurative reset button earlier this year when they traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts, signed free agent Marcus Mariota and then spent a third-round draft choice on Cincinnati Bearcats product Desmond Ridder. Ridder appears on track to enter September as a backup, and he recently spoke about his relationship with Mariota. 

“He’s like a big brother to me,” Ridder explained, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s taken me under his wing. He’s taught me some of the nuances of not only becoming an NFL quarterback but just an NFL player in general. So, I’m excited to keep learning from him and keep growing.”

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot suggested last month that Ridder could ultimately win the starting gig via performances from the opening days of training camp through the end of the preseason. The 22-year-old added he’s trying to stay focused on improving rather than on his spot on the depth chart.

“I take it day by day,” Ridder said. “I’m not coming out here trying to win the starting job, right here, right now. My job is to come out here and to make myself better to them, make Marcus better to them and make the team better.

“So, that’s just my job. My role right now is to kind of bring everyone else with me. Bring the rookies with me. Bring all the guys around me with me so that we can become better.”


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