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Falcons' Desmond Ridder eager to grow connection with 'two monsters' Drake London, Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder benefited from getting four games under his belt as a rookie. The reps allowed the young QB to hit the offseason running and gave the club faith to believe the third-round pick can be a starter.

Part of the benefit came from the chemistry gained with fellow rookie receiver Drake London. Still, with Atlanta's other stud pass catcher, tight end Kyle Pitts, already on injured reserve before Ridder took over, the work to build that relationship was critical this offseason.

"Obviously, Drake and I had a great connection last year," Ridder told ESPN this week. "For myself and Kyle, we didn't get as many reps as we'd like to last year. So for me it was just about keep developing that relationship with Drake, and then obviously build that relationship with Kyle. Whether it's playing golf on the weekends or actually being out there and working on our crafts together, and just growing that connection both on and off the field."

London and Pitts sit as Ridder's clear-cut top two targets entering training camp. How the rest of the pass-catching crew, which includes Mack Hollins, Scotty Miller, tight end Jonnu Smith and others, shakes out will be one thing to track when the club reports next week.

London came on strong down the stretch, particularly after Ridder took over. In those final four games, he generated 25 catches on 36 targets for 333 yards. The wideout also generated his lone 100-plus yard game in Week 18, going for 120 yards in the win over Tampa Bay.

Pitts (6-foot-6) and London (6-foot-4) offer Ridder big targets, which should make life easier on the accurate passer.

"The easiest thing for me is just putting it where they can get it," Ridder said of the duo. "They're two monsters outside of the ball. Just put it in their vicinity and they're able to go up and get it. The hardest thing would probably be missing, just because they're so big and they can cover a wide range of area. So, you know, it's hard to miss them."

In a winnable NFC South, the Falcons' season might very well come down to how many times Ridder does miss London and Pitts in key moments with games on the line.

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