With Matt Ryan off to the Indianapolis Colts and 28-year-old Marcus Mariota aboard as the uninspiring presumptive starter, they’ll be hearing plenty of calls from the fan base to elevate third-round rookie Desmond Ridder into the lead role. The backup quarterback, after all, is often the most popular player on a bad team, and the Falcons aren’t exactly expected to win many games as they enter a full-fledged rebuild.
Calvin Ridley won’t be playing in 2022 as he serves a gambling-related suspension, but Atlanta can at least get excited about the prospect of draft class-headliner Drake London catching balls from whoever is taking snaps. Plus, Kyle Pitts should only get better after debuting at tight end with 1,026 yards and a Pro Bowl appearance in 2021.
Atlanta mustered up seven victories during Ryan’s final season at the helm, and even that might be a lofty goal for a team relying on so many unproven and inexperienced contributors. As general manager Terry Fontenot put it, per NFL.com‘s Cameron Wolfe, “There may be short-term pain. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
At least the youngsters should provide plenty of excitement and have opportunities to grow — or, in some cases, continue growing — on the job. The tunnel doesn’t have to be totally dark along the way.
2022 Atlanta Falcons Schedule
|1||vs. New Orleans Saints||Sunday, Sept. 11||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|2||@ Los Angeles Rams||Sunday, Sept. 18||4:05 p.m. ET||FOX|
|3||@ Seattle Seahawks||Sunday, Sept. 25||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|4||vs. Cleveland Browns||Sunday, Oct. 2||1:00 p.m. ET||CBS|
|5||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Sunday, Oct. 9||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|6||vs. San Francisco 49ers||Sunday, Oct. 16||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|7||@ Cincinnati Bengals||Sunday, Oct. 23||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|8||vs. Carolina Panthers||Sunday, Oct. 30||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|9||vs. Los Angeles Chargers||Sunday, Nov. 6||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|10||@ Carolina Panthers||Thursday, Nov. 10||8:15 p.m. ET||Prime Video|
|11||vs. Chicago Bears||Sunday, Nov. 20||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|12||@ Washington Commanders||Sunday, Nov. 27||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|13||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||Sunday, Dec. 4||1:00 p.m. ET||CBS|
|15||@ New Orleans Saints||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|16||@ Baltimore Ravens||Saturday, Dec. 24||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|17||vs. Arizona Cardinals||Sunday, Jan. 1||1:00 p.m. ET||FOX|
|18||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TBD||TBD||TBD|