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The Straight, Unfiltered on Atlanta's Passing Game: Abandon Fantasy Hope
I'm going to tell you and show you "the why" for the rest of this article. For those of you who are seeking the simple answers to make quick decisions...
- Bench Drake London until he earns more targets. If you can get a solid deal for him or Kyle Pitts, consider it.
- Mack Hollins is a potential desperation flier because he's on the side of the field Desmond Ridder targets.
- Pitts is a boom-bust starter at best. He's good. His quarterback isn't yet but targets him enough and is willing to force the ball.
- Bijan Robinson remains at least a strong flex or RB2 with upside based on his usage as a runner and receiver.
- Tyler Allgeier's outlook is similar to Robinson's because we should expect a split all year, with Robinson's share gradually increasing.
- Desmond Ridder's accuracy looked a lot better than it was, but his decision-making has a ways to go before he's reliable.
The Quick Whys for Those Who Say They Want Quick Answers But Can't Resist Questions
- Desmond Ridder does not yet see the field well enough to throw with timing, accuracy, and sound decision-making.
- Drake London ran a vast majority of his routes from the left side of the field, and the vast majority of Ridder's targets are to the right side.
- The vast majority of Ridder's first reads were to Kyle Pitts, Mack Hollins, and Brian Robinson.
- London was Ridder's first read only twice.
- Ridder's pass placement on wide-open targets was catchable but often forced his receivers to adjust enough to limit yardage potential.
- Ridder either lacks pre-snap authority to get out of plays, or he doesn't recognize that his offense is in an unfavorable situation.
- Despite a strong ground game, Atlanta only executed play action twice against Carolina, and once, the Panthers weren't fooled.
- Atlanta has a vertical passing game designed for the offense, but Ridder isn't skilled enough to access and exploit it readily.
- There are a lot of routes breaking back to the quarterback and not across the field, which makes the offense static and limits yardage.
The Root Issue of "The Why"
Desmond Ridder. As mentioned above, he does not yet see the field well enough to throw with timing, accuracy, and sound decision-making. Based on NFL starts, Ridder is still a rookie, even if he's technically a second-year quarterback. While one game isn't a definitive statement of a quarterback's outlook, there are enough on-field displays of rookie-level play, which you can watch below, to illustrate my point.
I watched every snap of this game 4-5 times, and the biggest insight gained is that Ridder does not read coverage well at this point of his NFL career.
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