Calvin Ridley went catchless in Week 1, but in the two games since he has emerged with a place in the Atlanta Falcons offense.
In a case of the rich getting a little bit richer, the Atlanta Falcons took wide receiver Calvin Ridley with the 26th overall pick in April’s draft. He went into the season as the team’s No. 3 wide receiver, but an eventual pairing with Julio Jones as one of the top wide receiver duos in the league is easy to envision.
In Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Ridley went without a catch on two targets. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said he expected the rookie out of Alabama to be more involved heading into Week 2 and beyond, and Ridley had four catches (on five targets) for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. Compare that to what Mohamed Sanu did (two catches for 19 yards) and a change in the Atlanta’s wide receiver pecking order behind Jones was in the offing.
On Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, Ridley has delivered in a big way. As the third quarter winds down, he has seven receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns (18, 75 and nine yards out). Even Jones has taken a backseat, with three catches for 33 yards to that point in the game, and Sanu has three catches for 31 yards .
Atlanta’s notable woes in the red zone carried right into a new season in Week 1. Perhaps not coincidentally, a greater integration of Ridley by offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian over the last couple weeks has brought better proficiency in the scoring area of the field. Putting the best talent on the field is never a bad thing, and Ridley did play 45 snaps in the season opener. But actual tangible involvement from him has come over the last two games.
Ridley was arguably the most polished, if not the most talented, wide receiver in the 2018 draft class. He’s starting to deliver on that idea, and the Falcons’ offense is far better for it.