Football players are supposed to be full of swagger and have a little bravado. They’re some of the best in the world at what they do, and particularly at the receiver position, absolute faith that you’re going to be great is extremely helpful. No one should be surprised that Calvin Ridley appears to have no doubt he can step into a role as the team’s top receiver for good in 2021 and beyond.
First of all, thought, he’ll have to heal up after a minor recent surgery. Echoing the initial reporting about his surgery, Ridley says he thinks he’ll be available for training camp, and we hope that’s correct. That’s the newsy part of this post, and so long as that timeline sticks, it’s a relief.
Calvin Ridley emphasized that his foot surgery was minor, that he's able to walk and stemmed from something that happened last season. He also said he's 'pretty sure' he'll be ready for camp. Taking it one day at a time.— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) June 15, 2021
So long as he’s healthy, Ridley is well aware he’ll be asked to be the team’s top option in the passing game. Julio Jones’ injury last year ensured we got a look at Ridley as Atlanta’s #1 in what we all hope was a less inventive offense. While he was emphatically not Julio—nobody but Julio is—he was clearly a player who can be a major problem for defenses as the best receiver in a quality offense. The hope is that the addition of Kyle Pitts will help take considerable attention off Ridley and make it easier for him to get one-on-one matchups that he can easily exploit. and that Arthur Smith’s play calling will make his life easier in general. But regardless of any of that, Ridley’s confidence that he can dominate is evident.
Calvin Ridley said "no pressure" on replacing Julio Jones as the No.1 receiver on the Falcons.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) June 15, 2021
"I used to try to out do (Julio Jones) when he was on the team. It kept me hungry." Calvin Ridley said he has to find someone new to compete with in his head.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) June 15, 2021
So long as he’s healthy—and again, we’ll take him at his word here until we have reason not to—I think it’s fair to say whatever lofty expectations you have for Ridley’s productions are quite reasonable. He’s already done it with (again, what we hope is) a lesser offensive coordinator and supporting cast, and he won’t lack for the kind of confidence that helped make Julio great, either.
Calvin Ridley said the one thing he learned from Julio Jones: Confidence.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) June 15, 2021
Said there's a very specific confidence you have to have as a receiver in this league and Julio always had that.