It’s safe to say Week 5’s matchup with the New York Jets is a must-win game for the Atlanta Falcons at this point in the season. Down to 1-3 with a tougher slate of games coming after the bye week, Atlanta desperately needs to come away with a win against arguably the easiest remaining opponent on the schedule. It appears things may have just gotten a lot more difficult.
The team announced on Thursday afternoon that star wide receiver Calvin Ridley would not be making the trip to London due to a personal matter.
Calvin Ridley will not make the trip to London for the upcoming game against the New York Jets due to a personal matter. https://t.co/EoTeVc9Xqp— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 7, 2021
The Falcons were already in a perilous place with their wide receiver depth heading into Week 5, with Russell Gage’s status very much in question. It is now official that both Gage and Ridley will miss Sunday’s game, along with defensive tackle Marlon Davidson.
While the Jets are among the NFL’s worst offenses, they’ve been pretty respectable on defense. The Titans found themselves in a similar situation in Week 4, down both starting receivers against New York—and they wound up losing the game in overtime. Atlanta is now in the same boat, with an already undermanned wide receiver group and few proven options remaining on the roster.
With Ridley and Gage out, the Falcons are down to just four healthy receivers on the roster: Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe, Christian Blake, and rookie Frank Darby. It’s likely that we’ll see a practice squad elevation for this game: one of Juwan Green (who was activated in Week 4), Austin Trammell, or Keelan Doss.
Let’s hope the Falcons can find a way to keep the offense running without a lot of star power in the receiver group this week. Perhaps Kyle Pitts can finally take over the lead role, with more contributions from team MVP Cordarrelle Patterson and Hayden Hurst.