Calvin Ridley missed the trip to London and the Jets game with a personal matter, and both he and the Falcons wisely stayed mum on what that matter was. Speculation inevitably filled the information vacuum there, but the good news is that Ridley is returning to practice, and we hope that means everything’s okay for him.
It sounds like he’ll be at practice this week, and hopefully that means Ridley will play Sunday against the Dolphins.
Arthur Smith said Calvin Ridley will return to practice this week.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) October 18, 2021
The good news is that Ridley’s not alone, either.
Russell Gage and Marlon Davidson are back at Falcons practice.— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) October 18, 2021
Fabian Moreau is also out here.
Ridley re-joins the team with 27 catches for 255 yards and a touchdown on 42 targets in four games, averaging fewer yards per catch and target than any other point in his career. That huge target count is an indication of what the Falcons think of Ridley’s ability, obviously, and the drops he’s struggled with are more likely to be a fluke than a long-term problem. Getting him back is a major lift for the offense.
Getting back Gage should be another lift. He’s appeared in just two games this season because of injury, and he didn’t have much of a role in an offense that was a bit of a mess to start the year. He’s returning to a more confident and comfortable Matt Ryan and a better offense overall, and I expect he’ll contribute accordingly so long as he’s healthy and ready to go.
Moreau is a full-time starter opposite A.J. Terrell, and the Falcons will hope he can go Sunday so they don’t have to keep dipping into their cornerback depth. Davidson still has terrific potential but hasn’t been on the field a lot, but if he’s healthy he ought to slot in as a rotational option and steal some snaps from Jon Bullard and company.
No Kaleb McGary, Erik Harris and Avery Williams at Falcons practice.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 18, 2021
We’ll finish on something other than a high note. It’s early enough in the week that this isn’t something to etch in stone just yet, but we may see the Falcons play without their punt returner and a starting safety for the second straight week. If that’s the case, expect to see a lot more Richie Grant and Darren Hall again on defense, with Olamide Zaccheaus assuming punt return duties again. Kaleb McGary is the new name here, and hopefully he can go or we’ll be looking at Jason Spriggs starting at right tackle.
Stay tuned for more updates later in the week when we get official injury reports.