It has been an up-and-down rookie season for Calvin Ridley, with thrilling highs (long touchdown grabs, absurdly precise route running) with disappointing lows (drops, mostly). For several weeks now, it’s been more of the latter than the former, as Ridley appeared to hit the rookie wall with a series of drops.
But Ridley’s talent has never been in question, and don’t think anyone would seriously suggest that it’s due to a lack of effort, not when we learn things like this:
the crazy thing is... Calvin Ridley is on the jugs machine every day before practice. Every single day.— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) December 23, 2018
Whatever the issue is, it’s something I’m sure Ridley will take pains to correct in the offseason. In the meantime, all he can do is battle through it and try to make the plays that make him such an impressive talent in the first place. Plays like, say, a 75 yard touchdown grab where he burns the Panthers secondary. Like the one he just had, very recently.
With that spectacular grab, Ridley tied former quality Falcons tight end Junior Miller for the rookie record for touchdown receptions, with nine. That record had been on the books since 1980, meaning he just broke a record that stood through 38 years with plenty of great rookie receivers along the way. If he snags one more this week or next, he’ll be all on his own in the team record books, which serves to illustrate how impressive his rookie year has been on balance, regardless of the drops along the way.
So a tip of the cap to Ridley, who should go on to be one of the franchise’s greats at the position. It’s awesome to see him making some history this year.