Yesterday, we looked at potential MVP candidates for the Falcons at the halfway mark of the season, with Matt Ryan, Todd Gurley (!), and Grady Jarrett earning our votes. How about offensive player of the year, though?
The big difference you’ll notice right away is that there’s no Jarrett on this list, on account of the fact that he plays defense. The second thing you’ll notice is that Gurley isn’t here, but there’s a new man who earned a couple of votes alongside Matt Ryan. Who’s your choice?
It’s not often that projections for young players come to fruition. Yet, with Ridley, he has lived up to the hype of a “big, breakout season.” With 657 yards and 6 touchdowns so far, he’s on pace for his best season ever and he leads the team in both categories. It’s not just that he’s benefiting from having Julio on the field, either. His route running is crisp and his timing with Ryan has improved significantly. If he keeps this up, he may be heading towards his first Pro-Bowl selection. - David Walker
The Falcons have not had a totally healthy receiving corps all year, with Julio missing multiple games and Calvin Ridley slowing down after a huge start to the year. Todd Gurley has been scoring at an amazing clip but has not really impacted the passing game or been the kind of hyper-efficient runner that he’d need to be in order to be the team’s Offensive Player of the Year to this point. That leaves an offensive lineman or Matt Ryan, and the choice is clear. Ryan has had rough games but has kept the Falcons in it repeatedly and has been very good something like 5 out of the 8 games he’s played in, and that’s good enough to put him in the pole position for this honor for a curiously listless offense. - Dave Choate
The Falcons are breathing a massive sigh of relief that Calvin Ridley’s foot injury wasn’t as bad as it initially looked on Thursday night, as he’s been the engine that powers Atlanta’s offense so far this season. He leads the Falcons’ receiving corps in yards and touchdowns, and is putting together his finest season since being drafted in 2018. Calvin Ridley is emerging as a true No. 1 wide receiver, and through eight games he’s deserving as Atlanta’s Offensive Player of the Year. - Carter Breazeale
This was really tough to decide between Ryan and Calvin Ridley. While Ridley is well on his way to a career year in receptions, yards, yards per catch and touchdowns, he does have a goose egg game in week four against Green Bay and has not recorded a 100-yard receiving game since the first Carolina matchup. So Ryan gets the slight nod here. He has been his reliable self this season while dealing with inconsistent play calling, injuries to his top receiver duo, and a run game that has sputtered from time to time. - Eric Robinson